Prince AndrewImage copyright
AFP

The Duke of York’s lawyers have rejected claims by US prosecutors that he has not cooperated with the inquiry into sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, insisting he has offered to help.

US officials previously accused him of providing “zero co-operation”.

But in a statement, Prince Andrew’s legal team said he offered help on “at least three occasions”.

The lawyers suggested the US Department of Justice was seeking publicity rather than accepting the offer of help.

The duke stepped away from royal duties last year following a widely-criticised BBC interview about his relationship with Epstein, who took his own life in a US jail cell in August, aged 66, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The duke has been heavily criticised for his friendship with Epstein, but he has said he did not witness any suspicious behaviour during visits to the US financier’s homes.

In a statement, the legal team said: “The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the US Department of Justice (DoJ)”.

“Unfortunately, the DoJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the duke has offered zero cooperation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered.”

Earlier on Monday, it was revealed that the DoJ had made a formal request to speak to the prince as part of its Epstein inquiry, by submitting a mutual legal assistance (MLA) request to the UK Home Office.

Under the terms of a MLA request if Prince Andrew does not voluntarily respond, he can be called to a UK court to answer questions.

The duke’s lawyers described the request as “disappointing” because the Duke of York was “not a target of the DoJ investigation and has recently repeated his willingness to provide a witness statement”.



Source link

0 0 vote
Article Rating
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x