Prince Andrew asked his paedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein to help him secure $200 million (£153 million) in funding for a mysterious oil company, it has been claimed.
The allegation further undermines the Duke of York’s reasoning to visit the American financier in December 2010, which he said was to break off their friendship.
A legal document now filed in the US reveals how at the same time, Andrew supposedly requested Epstein’s help in securing money for a company called ‘Aria Petroleum’.
The papers form part of the civil case brought by the US Virgin Islands’ against baking giant JP Morgan.
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Attorneys allege the bank was “complicit in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein,” saying the sex predator gave high-ranking officials their money, advice and favours in exchange for looking the other way when he trafficked young women to be abused on his island getaway.
The Virgin Islands is seeking at least $189million (£145 million) in damages from JPMorgan over its ties to Epstein, who kept money at the bank from 1998 to 2013, according to a court filing.
The billionaire sex offender, who died by jail cell suicide in August 2019, forwarded a request from Andrew to his private banker Jes Staley on the first of at least five days the Duke spent at his pal’s $76 million (£58 million) Manhattan townhouse.
The document states: “On December 2, 2010, Jeffrey Epstein forwards an email to Staley from Prince Andrew with an inquiry the Prince received from Aria Petroleum looking for a $200m (£153 million) working capital line.
“Since the company is based in the US, Prince Andrew appeared to suggest Epstein connect them with a US bank.”
The message appears to undermine Andrew’s justification for visiting the American in 2010 while raising new questions about his role as Britain’s roving trade ambassador between 2001 and 2011.
Over the weekend, the Government declined to say whether the approach to Epstein was made as part of the royal’s role as trade envoy or if it was sanctioned by ministers.
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During Andrew’s car crash interview on BBC Newsnight, the duke claimed he cut off all contact with Epstein eight months before the email was sent.
Interviewer Emily Maitlis pressed him about why he had chosen to visit Epstein in December 2010 following his release from prison for soliciting a minor.
The prince said it was to inform him in person they could no longer be in contact and that they were to stop speaking immediately.
After staying at the financier’s house on New York’s Upper East Side, Andrew said it was the last contact the two friends had.
Maitlis asked: “Was that visit, December of 2010, the only time you saw him after he was convicted?”
Andrew responded: “Yes, yeah.”
Pressed further, she then asked him: “Did you see him or speak to him again?” The duke replied, “No”.
“Never since then?” she posed.
In January 2020, then-US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman attacked the duke for refusing their request he speak to the FBI as a witness.
In an excoriating attack on the royal, he said: “It’s fair for people to know whether Prince Andrew has followed through with that public commitment.
“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation.”
Five months later, American investigators applied to the British government to hand over the duke to give evidence.
The US Department of Justice made a formal ”Mutual Legal Assistance” (MLA) request to the Home Office bypassing Buckingham Palace.
An MLA allows cooperation between America and Britain when evidence needs to be gathered in a prosecution or investigation of criminal offences.
If it was approved by the Home Office, the FBI could ask Andrew to be compelled to go to a British court to give evidence under oath as a witness.
It would be up to the judge in the UK to decide if the hearing was in open court.
The Home Office has refused to comment on the status of the MLA or if it exists.
Andrew has been approached for comment.
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