Prince Andrew, on Sunday, released an official statement saying that he was appalled by sex abuse claims against his former friend, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The statement of the Duke of York was released by Buckingham Palace.
The statement comes at a time when Daily Mail published a video of Andrew seeing off a young woman at Epstein's Manhattan mansion in 2010. The British tabloid released the video of Andrew on Saturday. The video footage claims to show the 59-year-old royal at Epstein's house, two years after the former was convicted of child sex abuse in 2008.
"The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent," said the statement.
Epstein was born in New York and was a teacher by profession, but later shifted to finance. The former socialite had high-profile friends like US President Donald Trump, former US President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and many others.
Trump had told the New York Magazine that Epstein was a "terrific guy" in a 2002 interview. He later said that the duo had a falling out about 12 to 15 years ago. Besides, Trump said in July that he was "not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein."
Prince Andrew got caught in the sex scandal when Virginia Roberts, Epstein's alleged 'sex slave' claimed that she had sex with the Prince on three occasions, once when she was 17 and another time at Epstein's Manhattan mansion. Andrew however, denied all claims by Roberts.
The Prince's friendship with the paedophile attracted lots of criticism and he quit as UK trade envoy in 2011. The royal household and Queen Elizabeth always supported the Duke. Andrew later admitted that his friendship with the billionaire was a "mistake".
Epstein committed suicide in his jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in New York. He was being held without bail and would have faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
He was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his mansions in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005. Police arrested him from New Jersey in July.