Britain's Prince Andrew admits it was a 'mistake' to meet Epstein

Prince Andrew Duke of York

Prince Andrew Duke of York

Britain's Prince Andrew is now saying it was a mistake to meet with Jeffrey Epstein back in 2010.

"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. Epstein struck a deal, however, to plead guilty in 2008 to the Florida state felony prostitution charge, and register as a sex offender. Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, said the report, released Friday.

Prince Andrew said he had "tremendous sympathy" for those affected by Mr Epstein's actions.

Andrew has faced years of public scrutiny surrounding his relationship with the USA financier, who committed suicide earlier this month in a NY prison where he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

"This is a hard time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr. Epstein's lifestyle", he added. The Duke did, however, admit to staying in a number of Epstein's residences in the statement.

Prince Andrew said he met Mr Epstein in 1999 and saw him "probably no a few times or twice a year".

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.

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Virginia Giuffre - previously Virginia Roberts - one of Epstein's alleged victims, has testified that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in London when she was 17.

In the footage obtained by The Mail On Sunday, the British paper says Prince Andrew can be seen at the door of the disgraced hedge fund manager's Manhattan home, waving goodbye to a young woman leaving the property.

The billionaire financier was discovered in cardiac arrest almost a month after he was arrested for allegedly sex-trafficking girls as young as 14 and died in the hospital, CNN reported at the time. "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".

In an extraordinary personal letter issued via Buckingham Palace, the royal denied that he had any knowledge of Epstein's wrongdoings prior to his convictions, and said he had visited him "probably no more than only once or twice a year".

The duke had been appointed the UK's special representative for worldwide trade and investment in 2001 after retiring from the Royal Navy.

According to a report from E Online, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, released a statement today regarding his supposed relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

"I think that this is a effect of the build-up of press exposure in the days since and, as he would see it, a need to get his story, his rebuttal, out in as forceful terms as he can", he said.

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