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25 Aug, 2019 15:35

‘I saw the good he did for UK business’: PM Johnson shields Prince Andrew amid Epstein affair

‘I saw the good he did for UK business’: PM Johnson shields Prince Andrew amid Epstein affair

Boris Johnson has put his weight behind the embattled Prince Andrew, saying the royal – currently under fire for his ties to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – had contributed a lot to promote British commerce overseas.

“Let me tell you something,” the prime minister told ITV news on Sunday, “I've worked with Prince Andrew, I’ve seen the good he has been able to do for UK business overseas.” While giving Prince Andrew some support, Johnson has carefully avoided expanding on the issue.

“I have no comment, or indeed no knowledge of this other stuff,” he added.

Andrew, the third child of Elizabeth II, has served as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment and, on top of that, he oversaw a number of trusts in the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas.

But his business record is now being eclipsed by a flurry of allegations surrounding his disturbingly close relationships with Jeffrey Epstein, a presumed pedophile who was facing federal charges in the US for sex trafficking. Just this month, a viral video was released by the Mail on Sunday, purporting to show Andrew leaving Epstein’s Manhattan mansion – a notorious sex lair where the financier used to prey on underage girls.

Going into damage control, Andrew issued a wordy statement this week, asserting that he first met Epstein in 1999 but didn’t “witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction” during “infrequent” stays at his residences.

However, the explanations didn’t seem compelling; this is not the first time the royal has found himself in the middle of a sex scandal.

Last December, Epstein’s victims were summoned to a Florida court to tell their stories of sexual abuse. One of them, was Virginia Giuffre who claimed that she was both forced to have sex with Epstein and was “loaned out” to his friends – including Andrew.

At the time, British media alleged that Giuffre was coerced into having sexual encounters with the prince, being told “to give him whatever he required.” The reports prompted the British royal family to issue an unusually blunt denial that described the allegations as “false and without any foundation.”

Epstein was found dead in his NYC prison cell on August 10, giving birth to conspiracy theories suggesting that he’d been murdered on the orders of his high-profile friends, to prevent him from speaking out. However, a subsequent investigation ruled that he’d taken his own life by using bedsheets to make an improvised noose.

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