US could 'force' Prince Andrew to give evidence in Jeffrey Epstein enquiry

Authorities in the USA have formally requested Prince Andrew answer questions as a witness in a criminal probe into sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, it has been reported.

Prince Andrew ,may be required to lay out his version of dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.

There are reports that the Department of Justice had made a direct appeal to the Home Office to talk to Andrew, but sources close to the Duke said the story is “not as it seems”.

It comes after Geoffrey Berman, the US district attorney for Southern New York, said in January that the Prince was "stonewalling".

"To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation. It is understood that the Duke's team now plan to set out their full interactions with the DOJ later on Monday, which sources say will contradict claims he has refused to engage appropriately.

The duke categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

Andrew moved away from royal duties following his Newsnight interview in November about his relationship with Epstein, who killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

The duke said in a statement four days later that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

However, Geoffrey Berman, who is leading the Epstein inquiry, told reporters in March: “Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to co-operate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, he has now completely shut the door on voluntary co-operation and our office is considering its options.”

The move comes just weeks after a Netflix documentary about Epstein was released featuring Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, who alleged she had sex with the Duke of York in 2001 after being trafficked to the UK by the American.

Ms Giuffre has urged Andrew to meet authorities but a US lawyer said in March that the duke had “completely shut the door” on co-operating with investigators over the probe.

Meanwhile the Duke of York's lawyers have hit back, rejecting claims by US prosecutors that he has not cooperated with the inquiry into sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

US officials previously accused him of providing "zero co-operation".

In a statement, Prince Andrew's legal team said he offered help on "at least three occasions".

The lawyers suggested the US Department of Justice was seeking publicity rather than accepting the offer of help.

The duke stepped away from royal duties last year following a widely-criticised BBC interview about his relationship with Epstein, who took his own life in a US jail cell in August, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.