Scotland Yard is ready to assist the American authorities with their investigation into the Duke of York’s association with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Dame Cressida DIck has said.
Prosecutors in the United States are reportedly frustrated with the Duke’s failure to help with the ongoing inquiry into the billionaire financier, who took his own life last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In June it emerged that officials from the Department of Justice had submitted a formal request to interview him as a potential witness to the investigation
Known as a mutual legal assistance request, if the Duke fails to voluntarily respond he could be called to a UK court to answer questions.
Asked about what role Scotland Yard might have in the investigation, Dame Cressida said while it remained a US inquiry, her force would be willing to help at any stage if required.
The Met Commissioner told Channel 4 News: “The locus and focus of any investigation in relation to Jeffrey Epstein for example is clearly in America. If the Americans need our assistance at any stage, then we will give them that.”
It is likely US prosecutors will also be keen to talk to the prince about his close friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell.
Epstein’s former girlfriend is currently on remand in New York accused of a string of sex crimes against young girls including Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who has claimed she was trafficked to London in 2001 where she was forced to sleep with the Duke.
He has vehemently denied the allegations insisting he has no recollection of ever meeting Ms Roberts-Giuffre, despite a picture being published showing him with his arm around her at Ms Maxwell’s Belgravia home.
But responding to claims he had failed to cooperate the Duke's legal team hit back insisting he had offered to be a witness on three occasions.
In a strongly worded statement his lawyers said while the US Department of Justice had been investigating Mr Epstein for 16-years, the first time it had requested the Duke's help was on January 2 this year.
The statement went on: "Importantly, the DOJ advised us that the Duke is not and has never been a 'target' of their criminal investigations into Epstein and that they sought his confidential, voluntary co-operation.
It added: "The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the DOJ. Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero co-operation. In doing so, they are perhaps seeking publicity rather than accepting the assistance proffered."
Last year Ms Roberts-Giuffre accused the Metropolitan Police of failing to investigate her allegations.
But the Met has defended its handling of the case, insisting it is a matter for the American authorities to investigate.
In a statement issued last year, before Maxwell's arrest, Commander Alex Murray said the Met was not the appropriate authority to look into the case because the allegations of human trafficking had taken place outside the UK.
The statement said: ”Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK.
"We therefore concluded that the MPS was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, a decision was made that this matter would not proceed to a full criminal investigation.
"In August 2019, following the death of Jeffrey Epstein the MPS reviewed the decision making and our position remains unchanged."
It remains unclear whether Scotland Yard has been in receipt of any formal request to assist with its investigation since then.