For months, Prince Andrew has been dodging US authorities, who are seeking him for questioning about his relationship with the disgraced pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
All of the requests thus far have been informal, but now, the Department of Justice has formally told the Duke of York that he is the subject of a criminal probe and is wanted for questioning.
Prince Andrew continues to deny any wrongdoing or knowledge of Epstein’s many crimes, despite testimony from witnesses and a growing body of evidence indicating that he was involved.
Manhattan Attorney Geoffrey Berman has previously described the prince as a “co-conspirator” in Epstein's criminal network.
Andrew has previously promised to help investigators with the case, but has since removed himself from public life. He has also refused requests for interviews that investigators have sent him.
Virginia Giuffre, one of the many girls trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, has become one of his most outspoken victims. She has also accused the prince of sexually assaulting her while she was underage. Giuffre has appeared on dozens of interviews with broadcasters around the world to share her story.
Andrew has made no public comments on the matter since promising to speak with investigators after his BBC interview where he made numerous claims that were later exposed as lies.
Most notably, the prince claimed that he never met Giuffre or even heard the name before. A leak of private emails where he mentioned Virginia Giuffre surfaced just days after the interview, proving his claims false.
During his BBC interview, Prince Andrew claimed that he was at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night Giuffre says he raped her after the pair visited a nightclub together. However, eyewitnesses have now come forward to support Giuffre’s claims about being at the club with him on the evening in question.
Andrew was also found in the flight logs of Epstein’s notorious private airplane, booked on flights that went to his property in the Virgin Islands, where the Attorney General for the territory has claimed that Epstein “held underage girls captive” as recently as 2018.
According to a report this week from The Sun, the US Department of Justice has bypassed Buckingham Palace and filed a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) request to the Home Office. MLA requests are only used in criminal cases under a legal treaty between the US and the UK.
What this means is that Andrew could be forced to appear in a UK court as a witness in the case in the next few months. Legal experts in the US have predicted that the prince's silence on the matter could result in more problems, and make him appear more guilty. If he were to speak with investigators early on in their investigation, they would have treated him like a celebrity, gave him some softball questions, and then allowed him to get away with his crimes, but now he is a primary suspect with a lot of eyes on his history and the evidence against him.