Britain's Prince Andrew admits it was a 'mistake' to meet Epstein
Britain’s Prince Andrew has defended his “former friendship” with American financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying "at no stage" did he "see or suspect" any criminal behaviour.
Epstein committed suicide in a New York City jail cell earlier this month.
He was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges involving under-age girls.
Prince Andrew was photographed with Epstein in Central Park, in New York City, in late 2010 after the American financier was released from prison in another case involving a minor.
Under a controversial secret plea deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Some of Epstein’s alleged victims, including a woman who was photographed with Prince Andrew, has also called on the British royal to give investigators a sworn statement disclosing everything he knows about the American millionaire.
The Duke of York, in a statement today sought to "clarify the facts" around his "former association or friendship" with Epstein.
He acknowledged that it was a "mistake" to meet Epstein after the American was released from prison.
"During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year," the prince said.
"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 added.
The duke says he has "tremendous sympathy" for all those affected by Epstein's behaviour.
"His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure."
In July 2019 Epstein was arrested in New York after fresh allegations of sex trafficking and conspiracy surfaced.