Prince Andrew breaks silence on Epstein friendship
Nicole Bogart, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, August 24, 2019 11:47AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 24, 2019 2:58PM EDT
Prince Andrew has defended his former friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, stating at no time did he witness or suspect any behaviour linked to accusations of sexual abuse or criminal behaviour.
In a statement released Saturday, the Duke of York said that what he knew of Epstein was “evidently not the real person, given what we know now,” offering sympathies to the financier’s alleged victims.
“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr. Epstein’s lifestyle,” read the statement.
“I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”
Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a U.S. jail cell while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.
The Duke said he met Epstein in 1999 and saw him “infrequently,” no more than once or twice a year. The Duke did, however, admit to staying in a number of Epstein’s residences in the statement.
Earlier this week, a statement released by Buckingham Palace said the Duke "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."
The statement was released after U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail released a video allegedly showing the Prince inside Epstein's New York home waving goodbye to a young woman in 2010. The video was recorded after Epstein's 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution involving a minor.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure,” read the statement.