POLITICS
06/07/2020 11:20 BST | Updated 06/07/2020 15:59 BST

Prince Andrew Should 'Of Course' Cooperate With US Epstein Investigation, Says Keir Starmer

Labour leader says Duke of York "will have to justify his own actions”.

Keir Starmer has said “of course” Prince Andrew should cooperate with US law enforcement in the case surrounding paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in court in the US on Thursday accused of helping disgraced financier Epstein “identify, befriend and groom” multiple girls, including one as young as 14.

The Duke of York, who is a former friend of Epstein, has since been urged to provide information to the investigation by a US attorney.

Speaking to LBC on Monday morning, Starmer said Prince Andrew “will have to justify his own actions”.

“Of course he should cooperate with the US,” the Labour leader said.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, you cooperate with the law enforcement authorities when they require you to do so.”

SIPA USA/PA Images
Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell.

It comes after a friend of Maxwell said she would “never” disclose information about Prince Andrew.

Former investment banker Laura Goldman said Maxwell regarded Andrew as a friend and was “never going to say anything” about him to investigators.

Goldman, who claims to have known Maxwell since she moved to the US, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday she would “have to” go for a plea deal with prosecutors.

Asked if Maxwell would speak about the duke as part of the investigation, Goldman said: “She has always told me she would never, ever say anything about him.

“I think she felt he was her friend and she was never going to say anything about him.

“She felt in the 90s when her father died that Prince Andrew was there for her.”

Goldman said she last spoke to Maxwell “a couple of weeks ago”, prior to her arrest in New Hampshire on Thursday, adding: “She knew she was coming to the end of the road.”

She claimed Maxwell was a “victim” of Epstein and was always “a little afraid” of him.

Maxwell, daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by her former boyfriend Epstein.

At a brief hearing on Thursday, a magistrate judge ordered her to remain in custody while she is transferred to New York for a detention hearing.

Four of the six charges cover Maxwell’s dealings with Epstein from 1994 to 1997, when she was in an “intimate relationship” with him, according to the indictment.

These include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

She is further charged with conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Epstein killed himself last August before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, told a press conference that authorities would “welcome” a statement from the duke.

But a source close to the duke told PA Media he was “bewildered” by claims made by US authorities that he has not offered to cooperate with the Epstein case.

One of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by the financier, alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.

The duke categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Giuffre.