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Britain's Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, sexually abused a minor?

world Updated: Jan 03, 2015 03:57 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and son of Queen Elizabeth II, repeatedly abused an underage woman loaned to him as a ‘sex slave’ and participated in an orgy with underage girls, US court documents have alleged, drawing a denial by the Buckingham Palace Friday.

The allegations are part of a motion filed in a Florida court by an unnamed woman litigant who claims Jeffrey Epstein, an American multi- millionaire investment banker, loaned her to rich and powerful friends. These included the prince, fifth in line of succession to the British throne, the documents say.

A file photograph of Prince Andrew, Duke of York. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The litigant, now aged 30, claims she was forced to have ‘sexual relations’ with the Duke at a flat in London, at a Caribbean island owned by Epstein and an undisclosed location in New York between 1999 and 2002.

The court papers claim that the 54-year-old Duke carried out ‘acts of sexual abuse’ against the girl, who was 17 at the time.

Soon after the claims surfaced, the Buckingham Palace issued a statement, saying, “This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment in detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”

Epstein, who served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence as part of a plea bargain for soliciting paid sex with a minor, is said to be a former friend of the Duke. The unnamed litigant says she was repeatedly sexually abused by Epstein, who loaned out girls so that he could later blackmail their abusers.

Andrew’s allegedly close relationship with Epstein — he visited him in New York two years after the American’s release from prison in 2009 — has long been a source of controversy. The duke had previously been accused of meeting the banker’s young victims and possibly being aware of their sexual exploitation.

Andrew is not a party to the court action and has not been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations through the court.

The claims were made in the latest round of a six-year-old lawsuit brought by two women who say they were exploited by Epstein and claim they should have been consulted before his 2008 plea bargain agreement with prosecutors.

(with agency inputs)