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US authorities 'request Prince Andrew answer questions' in Jeffrey Epstein investigation
8 June 2020, 08:36
Authorities in the US have formally requested Prince Andrew answer questions as part of an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, according to reports.
Rather than making the request through Buckingham Palace, it was said to be made using the "mutual legal assistance" method, which helps other countries gather assistance in investigations and prosecutions.
It is a "usual policy," the Home Office says and is brought into play when it is difficult to obtain information via police cooperation.
The news comes as Andrew was reported back in March to have stopped cooperating with the inquiry into his longtime friend, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in a prison cell in August last year.
Epstein had been in jail awaiting trial for sex trafficking offences at the time.
In March, Geoffrey Berman, who is leading the inquiry into the disgraced financier, told reporters that the prince had "completely shut the door" on voluntary cooperation.
A documentary on Epstein was released earlier this year, which included interviews with Virginia Giuffre - also known as Virginia Roberts - an American woman who said she was trafficked to the Duke of York in 2001 when she was a teenager.
She has said she had sex with Andrew on three different occasions - with at least one being while she was 17 years old.
The duke has denied ever having sexual contact with Ms Guiffre, and has also claimed he is "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required".
He has stepped back from his royal duties since November following a heavily criticised Newsnight interview over his links to Epstein.