Prince Andrew under pressure as Jeffrey Epstein's British girlfriend arrested by FBI

Prince Andrew under pressure as Jeffrey Epstein's British girlfriend arrested by FBI

THE UK'S Prince Andrew is back under pressure after Jeffrey Epstein's British former girlfriend arrested by the FBI.

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested and charged by US officer yesterday under suspicion of assisting Jeffrey Epstein with his sexual exploitation of underage girls.

It is alleged that she helped Epstein to "identify, befriend and groom" dozens of girls, including one as young as 14, over a number of years, and is charged with six offences.

Maxwell had previously denied assisting Epstein, as well as denying any knowledge of his wrongdoing despite being in an "intimate relationship" with him between 1994 - 1997; four of the six charges against her are alleged to have taken place in those years.

Acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, Audrey Strauss, announced the charges yesterday and told reporters that Maxwell assisted Epstein in trafficking and abusing underage girls, and "in some cases" participated in the abuse herself.

Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of assisting Jeffrey Epstein with his exploitation of underage girls, and carrying out some of the abuse herself (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)

"Maxwell was among Epstein's closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old," Ms Strauss said.

"Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse."

The new charges correlate with multiple accusations from girls who have come forward regarding their abuse by Epstein, who said Maxwell had a network of girls who she would coerce into performing sexual acts on the disgraced financier.

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, speaks to the media at a press conference to announce the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and accused accomplice of deceased accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Epstein rubbed shoulders with many high-profile figures throughout his life, including US President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and the UK's Prince Andrew.

The Duke of York had also strenuously denied any knowledge of wrongdoing by his former close friend, and was forced to deny that he himself had been sexually involved with an underage girl, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who he had met through Epstein.

In an infamous interview with the BBC last year, the Queen's son said the accusations against him were false, as Virginia Roberts Giuffre had recalled him sweating profusely but at the time, due to a medical condition, he couldn't sweat.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, has been under increasing scrutiny for his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

He also claimed he remembered being at a Pizza Express in Woking on the exact date he was alleged to have had sex with 17-year-old Virginia in London on 10 March, 2001.

Now the prince is again under pressure to allow US investigators to interview him as the case is reopened; the court case against Epstein fell apart last year when the accused man allegedly took his own life while in prison.

A lawyer for some of Epstein's victims, Spencer Coogan, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today show where he called on the Duke of York to speak to US prosecutors about his controversial relationship with the financier.

"I certainly think Prince Andrew has a story to tell. On behalf of the victims we have continuously asked him to step forward, step up, be a man and tell us what he knows," he told the programme.

"He has been hiding behind not only the royal family but his attorneys.

US lawyer Gloria Allred, another attorney acting on behalf of Epstein's other victims, said he needs to come forward "without delay".

"It is so traumatising and difficult for the victims not to know the truth," she told ITV's Good Morning Britain, referring to his refusal as "a torture test".

"More excuses, more delays, it really is painful for many of the victims. It's just not fair."

She went on to say that he would not need to be extradited to the US in order to speak to detectives, but that US officials could facilitate the interview in the UK.

"'I'm just so tired of the excuses," Ms Allred went on.

"The victims want the truth, they want the transparency, they want him to tell law enforcement what he knows."