NEW YORK (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Andrew has declined to cooperate with a U.S. investigation into possible co-conspirators of deceased financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a U.S. prosecutor said on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Andrew leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, near royal Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, Britain January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Radburn/File Photo
“Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said when asked about Epstein at a news conference about an unrelated case.
Berman’s spokesman James Margolin declined comment on the options being considered. He said the prince’s lawyers had said Andrew would not submit voluntarily to an interview. He said this was after Jan. 27, when Berman told a news conference Andrew had not offered any cooperation.
Andrew, 60, had said in a public statement in November that he was stepping down from public duties and would be willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
A friend of Epstein’s, the prince has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. He has described his association with the financier as “ill-judged.” A spokeswoman for the royal family declined comment.
Clare Montgomery, a senior London barrister who British news reports say represents Andrew on matters related to Epstein, also declined to comment, citing professional rules limiting her ability to speak publicly about legal issues.
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, has denied an accusation by a woman who said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the prince, when she was 17.
A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation probe is focusing on British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of Epstein’s, and others who facilitated the wealthy financier’s alleged trafficking of underage girls, law enforcement sources told Reuters in December.
Epstein had socialized with the prince and other high-profile figures including U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.
Epstein’s suicide in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in August, at age 66, occurred little over a month after he was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said he recruited girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature. Epstein had pleaded not guilty.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller