Following media reports that US authorities had formally requested Prince Andrew answer questions in the case on the investigation into the disgraced financier and child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, US attorney general William Barr has said there are no plans to extradite the Duke of York to the United States for questioning
Lawyers for Prince Andrew earlier accused US prosecutors of misleading the public and breaching their own confidentiality rules in their handling of the investigation, after numerous outlets reported US authorities had formally requested he answer questions on the case.
Multiple reports said officials in New York made the request through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty – similar to a subpoena for the prince to provide testimony.
Barr said Prince Andrew's involvement in the case against the convicted paedophile "isn't a question of handing him over" but a matter of "having him provide some evidence" and said he wouldn't be extradited to do so.
Prince Andrew's legal team called the development "disappointing," according to Sky News and claimed the Duke of York had previously offered his assistance to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on three occasions.
"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. We were given an unequivocal assurance that our discussions and the interview process would remain confidential."
However, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement the duke's representatives had "falsely" claimed he was willing to corporate.
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 8, 2020
Related: Jeffrey Epstein's death means his victims are left without justice
Last December, in the aftermath of a TV interview in which he discussed friendship with Epstein, the duke announced he would be stepping down from public duties, saying the controversy surrounding his "ill-judged" association with late US financier Jeffrey Epstein had caused major disruption to the royal family's work.
"It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work," he said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
"I’m calling BS on this, because that’s what it is.”
Prince Andrew says he has no recollection of meeting Virginia Giuffre, nor of any photo being taken with her and he emphatically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with her. pic.twitter.com/aqQ76kpPHI
— Panorama ? (@BBCPanorama) December 2, 2019
Related: 'A story of being trafficked': Prince Andrew's accuser Virginia Giuffre speaks out
Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, claims she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the Duke of York when she was only a teenager. In a TV interview, she implored British people to “stand beside her” saying “only one of us is telling the truth”.
Prince Andrew has categorically denied the claims. "It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation."
Main photograph: @RollingStone
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