Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Businesses cut ties with Prince Andrew after Epstein interview

Accountancy giant KPMG withdraws support for Duke of York’s charity

Prince Andrew, Duke of York said in a BBC interview that he doesn’t remember a woman who has accused him of sexually exploiting her in encounters arranged by Jeffrey Epstein. AP Photo
Prince Andrew, Duke of York said in a BBC interview that he doesn’t remember a woman who has accused him of sexually exploiting her in encounters arranged by Jeffrey Epstein. AP Photo

Businesses and charities linked to Britain’s Prince Andrew cut ties or said they were reviewing their partnerships with him on Monday after he spoke of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Accountancy group KPMG said it was withdrawing its support for the Duke of York’s main charitable project for entrepreneurs, Pitch@Palace, because of the continuing negative publicity surrounding his friendship with financier Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

Prince Andrew came under new criticism after he gave an interview with the BBC last week in which he said he let the royal family down through the relationship.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is listed as a “strategic partner” for Pitch@Palace, said it was reviewing its involvement in the initiative. Insurance company Aon has asked for its logo to be removed from the programme’s website.

Charity Outward Bound, which educates young people about outdoor activities and has historically had close ties with the British royal family, said its trustees would meet this week to discuss whether Prince Andrew would remain as its patron.

The news comes as a victim of Epstein has urged Andrew to give the FBI any information he had on the sex offender.

The woman, 31, described in legal papers only as “Jane Doe 15”, is suing Epstein’s estate. She says she was raped by Epstein when she was 15 at his ranch in New Mexico.

Later, after she returned to her home in Michigan, she received a call from one of the billionaire’s assistants inviting her to his private island Little St James in the US Virgin Islands. She said he claimed the Duke of York would be there.

A property on Little St James Island, owned by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, in the US Virgin Islands. Reuters
A property on Little St James Island, owned by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, in the US Virgin Islands. Reuters

Lawyers for Epstein’s victims say Little St James Island was where the worst crimes against minors were committed by the billionaire and some of his friends.

In Los Angeles on Monday, the woman said: “Prince Andrew, and any others who are close to Epstein, should come forward and give a statement under oath on what information they have”.

This sentiment was echoed by her lawyer Gloria Allred, who said that the Duke should “do the honourable thing” and that it was his duty to speak to the FBI.

“I was contacted by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s assistants and invited to Epstein’s island where I was told the Duke of York, among others, would be a guest,” she said.

“I declined the invitation out of fear. I had only experienced a glimpse of Epstein’s world, but it left me with residual trauma that seriously impacted the trajectory of my life.”

She said that from the time she spent with Epstein, who died in his New York cell in August as he was awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges, it was clear that something “was very wrong with his lifestyle”.

The prince said he visited Epstein in 2010, after the financier was released from jail, to tell him their friendship was over. He said that was the last contact he ever had with him.

After staying in the billionaire’s property, Prince Andrew said he did not realise the girls he saw at Epstein’s house were underage.

Updated: November 19, 2019 09:10 AM

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