Published On: Sat, Aug 24th, 2019

Prince Andrew speaks out over Epstein friendship: ‘It was a mistake and an error’ | Royal | News

Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew’s disgraced ex-friend, was found dead in jail two weeks in an apparent suicide. The Duke was dragged into the controversy after the Duke was accused of groping a woman’s breast during a visit to Mr Epstein’s apartment in 2001. Prince Andrew, who has categorically denied acting improperly with any women, has now released a statement on his friendship with the the financier.

In the statement, the Duke sought to “clarify the facts to avoid further speculation”, over his friendship with Mr Epstein that he said began in 1999.

Prince Andrew said he saw Mr Epstein “infrequently” and he said: “At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.

“I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.

“I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behaviour.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle.

“I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”

Mr Epstein was found dead in jail on Saturday August 10. 

READ MORE: Jeffrey Epstein dead: Financier accused of sex trafficking takes life in prison

Ms Guiffre has alleged she was forced to have sex with the royal which he has vehemently denied.

Ms Sjoberg claims were made public after the judge released previously sealed documents as Mr Epstein awaited trial for underage sex trafficking.

Ms Sjoberg was 21 at the time, and Giuffre was 17. Andrew was 41.

Prince Andrew was reportedly introduced to Mr Epstein through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the financier’s former girlfriend, in the 1990s.

The Prince came under fire in 2010, after he was pictured strolling through Central Park with Mr Epstein following his release from prison.

This led to the Duke stepping down from his role as Britain’s trade envoy in July 2011 and forcing Buckingham Palace to say all contact with Epstein had been cut.

Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, was also dragged into the controversy in 2015 when it emerged she accepted £15,000 from Mr Epstein five years earlier to help clear her debts. 

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