Prince Andrew has finally broken his silence on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
In recent weeks, the Duke of York has come under fire for his former friendship with the disgraced financier – who commit suicide in prison earlier this month.
The 66-year-old was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, and was being held without bail.
Responded to speculation surrounding the scandal, Prince Andrew said in a statement: “It is apparent to me since the suicide of Mr Epstein that there has been an immense amount of media speculation about so much in his life.”
“This is particularly the case in relation to my former association or friendship with Mr Epstein. Therefore I am eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.”
The 59-year-old admitted it was a “mistake” to meet Epstein after he left prison in 2010, and said: “During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year.”
“I have stayed in a number of his residences. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction,” he said.
Prince Andrew added: “His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
Breaking: Prince Andrew now has a long statement on his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
It was a “mistake” and “an error” to see him after his release from prison. pic.twitter.com/7TlR5ZLQ3o
— Mark Di Stefano ???????? (@MarkDiStef) August 24, 2019
The news comes after a pilot claimed that Prince Andrew was on a private jet with Jeffrey, and the financier’s alleged “sex slave” Virginia Roberts.
According to court documents, David Rodgers claimed that he once saw Andrew onboard Jeffrey’s private jet, and 17-year-old Virginia was allegedly there too.
The pilot has claimed that they flew to the US Virgin Islands, where Jeffrey had a private island, on 11 April 2001.
The recently released court documents relate to a settled defamation case involving Virginia and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell – who allegedly supplied Epstein with underage girls.
Mr Rodgers also claimed Andrew was on a flight on 31 March from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Florida – and other passengers on the jet included Jeffrey, Virgina and Ghislaine.
According to Royal Court Circular documents, Andrew began an official visit to the US on April 9, 2001 – and landed in New York.
The Prince attended official engagements in Boston, before returning to New York on April 11 – when he allegedly flew from New Jersey to the Virgin Islands onboard Epstein’s private jet.
The pilot has also claimed that Prince Andrew was on a 4 July 2001 flight from the Virgin Islands to Florida with Jeffrey and Virginia – but his royal diary states that he was in the UK at that time.
He also alleged that Prince Andrew was onboard Jeffrey’s infamous ‘Lolita Express’ on August 7, 2001.
In response to the pilot’s claims, Buckingham Palace said: “This evidence statement was submitted in a case in which the Duke was not a party and in which any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
“The statement shows a number of inconsistencies between the Duke’s alleged location and his actual location when checked with the court circular. In some cases he is on different continents.”
“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.”