Duchess of York's 'huge error' over debt
Monday 07 March 2011
The Duchess of York has admitted to a "terrible, terrible error of judgment" after accepting £15,000 from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Sarah said she had made another "huge error" in her life after the money was paid by the billionaire convicted paedophile to help her pay off her debts.
"I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me," she told the Evening Standard in an exclusive interview with editor Geordie Greig.
"I abhor paedophilia and any sexual abuse of children and know that this was a gigantic error of judgment on my behalf.
"I am just so contrite I cannot say. Whenever I can I will repay the money and will have nothing ever to do with Jeffrey Epstein ever again."
The Duchess also strongly defended the Duke of York over his links with Epstein describing her former husband as a "first rate" man and a "first rate" father who has worked "tirelessly" for his country.
"The duke is a man who does not know how to tell an untruth or behave dishonourably. There have been errors of judgment but nothing substantive has been done wrong by him, ever," she told the newspaper.
The money from Epstein was paid to Sarah's former assistant, Johnny O'Sullivan, who was claiming £78,000 in unpaid wages and other bills, the Evening Standard reported.
Epstein is said to have stepped in after discussing the affair with Andrew's office and dealt directly with Mr O'Sullivan, who accepted £15,000 which then allowed a wider restructuring of Sarah's £5 million debts to take place.
The financier had personally offered to help the duchess as he knew that Mr O'Sullivan was insisting his money was paid in full, which meant the rest of the debt could not be restructured, the newspaper said.
Epstein did not speak directly to the duchess about the payment but through the duke's office and then directly with Mr O'Sullivan, it was reported.
The Duchess of York told the newspaper: "The duke sorted out my debts and he and his office have been more than marvellous."
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