BBC to air interview with Prince Andrew accuser


Virginia Giuffre was interviewed for a Panorama episode that will air on Monday night

Jim Waterson and Caroline Davies   -The  Guardian

‘He knows what happened, I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth,’ Virginia Giuffre told Panorama. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

The royal family is braced for more revelations about the Duke of York’s connections with Jeffrey Epstein, as the BBC prepares to air a Panorama interview with his accuser Virginia Giuffre on Monday night.

Giuffre was interviewed by the programme last month for a long-running investigation about Prince Andrew and his connections with the deceased sex offender. But before the Panorama episode was ready to air, Andrew agreed to do a disastrous sit-down interview with the rival BBC programme Newsnight.

The BBC has confirmed that the Panorama episode, called The Prince and the Epstein Scandal, will be shown in a specially lengthened hour-long edition, including Giuffre’s first British television interview regarding her meetings with the prince. She claims she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the prince, who posed alongside her at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell in an infamous photograph.

“It was a really scary time in my life,” Giuffre says in a brief clip issued by the BBC ahead of the programme. “He knows what happened, I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth.”

Because the interview was filmed last month she will not directly respond to the prince’s Newsnight interview, in which the royal claimed that sex with the then teenager “never happened”, insisting he had been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the day it allegedly took place.

He said it was a “positive act” for a man to have sex and said that made it very hard to forget: “It’s very difficult to try and forget positive action and I do not remember anything.”

He added: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

The BBC said the programme revealed new details about Giuffre’s time with Epstein, while also looking at Maxwell, who has not been seen in public for months. The high society magazine Tatler failed to track her down, while the Sun has offered a £10,000 reward to anyone who can locate her.

The prince has faced fresh accusations relating to his financial affairs and calls for him to be stripped of his HRH title.

An investigation by the Mail on Sunday claimed the duke had conflicts of interest in relation to the multimillionaire property developer David Rowland, 74, described by the newspaper as his “close friend”, and his role as the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment.

It claimed leaked emails revealed the prince was “quietly plugging” a private Luxembourg-based bank, owned by the Rowland family. The newspaper alleged the prince allowed Rowland’s son, Jonathan, to accompany him on taxpayer-funded official trade missions to China and Saudi Arabia, which would have enabled the family to expand their bank and woo powerful and wealthy clients.

It also claimed Andrew held a 40% stake in an offshore company with David Rowland, called Inverness Asset Management (IAM) based in the British Virgin Islands. It said the pair planned to persuade wealthy contacts to invest in a fund structured in the Cayman Islands, promising them tax-free income. It was unknown if the venture ever operated, the paper said, but was in existence until March this year. One of Andrew’s subsidiary royal titles is Earl of Inverness.

The newspaper also alleged that in an email exchange with the prince, when he was faced with losing his envoy role because of the Epstein scandal, Jonathan Rowland suggested their commercial activities could continue “under the radar”. The paper claimed prince responded: “I like your thinking.”

The prince stepped aside as trade envoy in 2011 after it became public that he had stayed with Epstein following the convicted sex offender’s release from prison.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The Duke of York was the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment between 2001 and July 2011 and in that time the aim, and that of his office, was to promote Britain and British interests overseas not the interests of individuals.”

The Mail on Sunday said David Rowland, who quit as Tory party treasurer shortly after he was appointed in 2010 amid controversy over his business affairs, and his son had declined to comment for legal reasons.



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