prince andrew

Prince Andrew issues statement regarding Jeffrey Epstein abuse claims

The Duke of York has said he is "appalled" by the allegations

Gemma Strong

Prince Andrew has said he is "appalled" by the sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York, 59, issued a statement through Buckingham Palace after new footage emerged at the weekend allegedly showing him inside the disgraced financier's Manhattan mansion in 2010. The statement read: "The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent."

Prince Andrew has said he is "appalled" by the allegations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein

Mr Epstein, 66, took his own life earlier this month while waiting to go on trial for sex trafficking charges in New York. He had previously associated with the likes of Prince Andrew, President Donald Trump and former US President Bill Clinton. Police arrested him in July after he landed in New Jersey on his private jet. He had pled not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, and was held without bail. If convicted, he faced up to 45 years in prison.

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The wealthy financier was held on similar charges back in 2008, but was given a controversial plea deal and instead pled guilty to the lesser change of soliciting a minor. He received an 18-month prison sentence, during which time he was able to go on "work release" to his office for 12 hours a day, six days a week, and he was released on probation after 13 months.

Mr Epstein took his own life while awaiting trial

Prince Andrew's statement comes after the Mail on Sunday published footage showing the duke looking out from a large door of the mansion waving goodbye to a woman after Mr Epstein leaves to get into a chauffeur-driven car. It is thought to have been filmed around the same time that the pair were famously photographed together in Central Park after Mr Epstein had served his 18-month prison sentence. Prince Andrew faced criticism for his friendship with the tycoon at the time, and he quit his job as UK trade envoy in 2011 as a result. He later acknowledged that their association had been a mistake.

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Buckingham Palace has previously strenuously denied allegations made against the prince by Virginia Roberts. A statement branded them "false and without any foundation", stating: "Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors" by Andrew was "categorically untrue".