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Prince Andrew 'a person of interest' in Epstein probe - source

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Britain's Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, looks on during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 99, on the grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, April 17, 2021. Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors probing the activities of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and others linked to U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein consider Prince Andrew a person of interest in the investigation, a source familiar with the U.S inquiry said.

Investigators want to interview Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, about his friendship with Epstein as part of their inquiry into possible co-conspirators, the source said. As a person of interest he is viewed at least as a potential witness.

Prosecutors in 2020 said Andrew had “sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate” but had given no interview to federal authorities and had repeatedly declined requests to talk with investigators.

While Andrew remains a person of interest to prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, they do not expect to be able to interview him in the foreseeable future, if ever, according to the source.

"He doesn't seem to want to talk to us," said the source.

Representatives of the Prince declined to comment.

Earlier this month, Virginia Giuffre, who has said she was abused by Epstein, filed a civil complaint against Andrew in Manhattan federal court. Giuffre alleges Andrew forced her to have unwanted sexual intercourse at Maxwell's London home.

Andrew has denied the allegation.

Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors.

Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004. She is expected to go on trial in November.

Prosecutors last year sent the British government a formal request, known as a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) submission, asking for access to the prince so they could talk to him.

The MLAT is a procedure used in criminal investigations to gather material from foreign countries which cannot readily be obtained on a cooperative basis.

Giuffre's lawyer had no immediate comment.

Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller

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