The Duke of York held a meeting with Ghislaine Maxwell in London two weeks after US prosecutors announced they wanted to reopen their investigation into Jeffrey Epstein.
The Telegraph has discovered that Ms Maxwell, who is now at the centre of an FBI inquiry, made her last trip to the UK at the beginning of June where she met Prince Andrew.
The meeting took place on or about June 5, the day before Ms Maxwell took part in a four-day charity motoring rally from London to Monte Carlo. It is thought to be the last time that Ms Maxwell came to the UK and her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Asked in his interview with BBC’s Newsnight when he had last contacted Ms Maxwell, the Duke said: “It was earlier this year funnily enough in the summer, in the spring, summer.”
He then explained “she was here doing some rally” and when interrogator Emily Maitlis said if this meeting took place after Epstein was arrested in July, the Duke responded: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, this was…this was early spring.”
Ms Maitlis then asked if the pair had discussed Epstein at the meeting. “No, actually funnily enough no not at all,” replied the Duke, “There wasn’t anything to discuss about him because he wasn’t in the news, you know, it was just…we had moved on.”
Two weeks before the car rally, the Epstein case had in fact begun to gather fresh momentum when federal prosecutors announced in court filings in mid-May that they planned to speak to Epstein’s victims with a view to reopening the case against him. Epstein, 66, a billionaire financier, had struck a secret plea deal in 2008 in which he was allowed to plead guilty to minor prostitution charges while much more serious federal sex trafficking charges were dropped. Epstein served 13 months in prison before his release in 2009.
But in May of this year, pace was gathering for Epstein to be reinvestigated over the more serious offences. Following the announcement that they wanted to talk to victims before tearing up the plea deal, Epstein was then arrested and charged in July. A month later he committed suicide while remanded in jail.
The Duke has denied discussing the case with Ms Maxwell, the daughter of the disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell. She has been accused of procuring young women and underage girls for sex with Epstein, who was also at one time her boyfriend. Maxwell has vehemently denied allegations of wrongdoing.
One of Epstein’s ‘sex slaves’ Virginia Roberts has alleged that when she was 17 she was ordered to have sex with the Duke on three occasions in 2001. The Duke strongly denies the claims. “It never happened,” the Duke told Newsnight.
At the beginning of June this year, Ms Maxwell flew to London to take part in the Cash & Rocket charity car rally that set off from the capital on June 6, reaching Monaco on June 9. Only women can take part in the rally and participants in this year’s event included the heiress Paris Hilton, Jodie Kidd, the model and socialite, Chloe Green, the daughter of Sir Philip Green.
On the eve of the rally, organisers hosted a masquerade ball at the V&A Museum. Ms Maxwell appears to have kept a low profile and does not appear in any publicised photographs at the ball nor in the group photo for drivers at the rally’s start.
Ms Maxwell, 57, drove car number 28 with a co-driver Annette Mason, the wife of the Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
Yesterday, a driver at the Masons’ home in north London said: “With regards to Ghislaine, they did a charity drive together and they were friends.” Mrs Mason was unavailable for comment.
The Court Circular at the time shows the Duke was in London in the first week of June, meeting Donald Trump during his state visit on June 3 and June 4. President Trump coincidentally was also a known associate of Epstein’s. The Duke’s next official engagement took place on June 7 at Buckingham Palace, the day after Ms Maxwell had begun the first leg of her journey to Paris en route to Monaco.
Story credit: The Telegraph