The FBI, not concerned that Prince Andrew is a member of the British royal family, is including him in their ongoing and expanding investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation, according to a report over the weekend in the Sunday Times of London.
“The US investigation is focusing on several potential victims in the hope that they can provide more details about Prince Andrew and his connection to the Epstein case,” a source from the U.S. Justice Department told the Sunday Times. “They are not going to dismiss (claims relating to Andrew) because he is a royal.”
The Sunday Times said the FBI expects to question Epstein’s alleged victims in the next two months, and the agency has briefed Scotland Yard on its probe. The Times said Scotland Yard detectives stand ready to assist their American counterparts. The report did not say whether Andrew would make himself available to talk to investigators.
With news about the FBI’s reported involvement, the Duke of York will continue to be plagued by negative headlines about his controversial association with Epstein. The multimillionaire sex offender, 66, died by suicide Aug. 10 in a Manhattan jail, where he was awaiting trial on new charges of sexually abusing and trafficking underaged girls.
Andrew, 59, was friends with Epstein, starting in the late 1990s and continuing through at least late 2010 — after Epstein was first investigated for trafficking underaged girls and convicted in 2008 of crimes involving sex with a minor.
It has been documented in news reports and in court filings that Andrew traveled on Epstein’s private plane multiple times, visited his different homes and invited the financier for a weekend stay and for royal family birthday parties at Balmoral and Windsor castles.
Most problematic for Andrew is that Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged “sex slaves,” has claimed in a lawsuit and in interviews that she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times in 2001 when she was 17.
In a recent interview with NBC’s “Dateline,” the Sacramento-born Guiffre, now 35, said about Andrew: “He was an abuser. He was a participant.”
Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, also was known to be good friends with British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged “madam.” Maxwell has been accused by Giuffre and other women of helping to recruit and groom girls to have sex with Epstein and his powerful friends.
Guiffre told NBC that her first sexual encounter with Andrew took place at Maxwell’s London townhouse.
“Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and told me, ‘You’re going to meet a prince today,’” Giuffre told Savannah Guthrie. “I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince.”
A now viral photo of Andrew with his arm around Giuffre was reportedly taken at Maxwell’s townhouse the night they first allegedly had sex.
“I couldn’t believe that even royalty were involved,” Giuffre added in the “Dateline” interview.
The Duke of York, once known by the U.K. media as “Randy Andy,”  has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s accusations, saying they were “false” and “without foundation.” Andrew also has tried to distance himself from Epstein and said he regrets continuing their friendship after the convicted pedophile was released from his controversially short 13-month county jail stay in 2010.
Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, who was in charge of Andrew’s security in the late 1990s, told the Sunday Times it was in the “public interest” for the FBI to investigate — especially after London’s Metropolitan Police dropped an investigation into Andrew when allegations by Giuffre emerged in 2015.
“I would have thought it’s in Prince Andrew’s interests to clear this matter up,” Davies told the Sunday Times. “Any residue of doubt or innuendo should be cleared up by a clear, unequivocal, structured investigation.”
The Sunday Times said the FBI plans to interview about 100 victims, the majority of whom were 14 or 15 years old when they allegedly were trafficked by Epstein and his possible accomplices. The Times added that Guiffre’s allegations against Andrew are not the only claims the FBI is reviewing in relation to the prince.