The Duke of York has released a lengthy statement in an effort to end speculation surrounding his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In the 250 word statement, Prince Andrew further apologised for seeing Epstein after his release from prison in 2010.
In full, the Duke said:
“It is apparent to me since the suicide of
“Therefore I am eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.
“I met Mr Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. 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.
“I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know. I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and 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.
“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. I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”
In 2011 the Duke of York apologised for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and was forced to step down as the UK special representative for trade and investment.
Epstein was facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York, however, news emerged of his death on Saturday morning.
The disgraced financier killed himself in his Manhattan cell just a few hours after the new court documents were opened.
Last week Prince Andrew also spoke out after pictures were published in the Mail on Sunday showing the 59-year-old visiting Epstein’s Manhattan mansion back in 2010.
In a statement published in the Daily Telegraph, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “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.”
The pictures published in the Mail on Sunday were taken in 2010, this was after the billionaire had served an 18-month prison sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution.