Prince Andrew: Accountancy firm KPMG pulls support for royal's business project amid Epstein scandal fallout

Backing for Pitch@Palace wanes as controversy rages

Vincent Wood@wood_vincent
Monday 18 November 2019 19:47
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Prince Andrew: I stayed at convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's house because I am 'too honorable'

Accountancy firm KPMG has ended its support for one of the Duke of York’s pet projects as controversy rages over his relationship with billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Palace officials confirmed the company, one of the big five accounting firms, had decided not to renew its support for the Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace initiative last month.

The duke launched the Dragon’s Den-style project in 2014 as he attempted to carve out a role as a supporter of business innovation – referring to himself at the time as the “entrepreneur-in-residence at Buckingham Palace”.

The prince’s decision to maintain a personal relationship with Epstein even after he was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor has attracted a storm of criticism. In addition, the 59-year-old has faced scrutiny over allegations he had sex with an underage girl who was a victim of Epstein, which he has denied.

“KPMG’s sponsorship contract with Pitch@Palace finished at the end of October,” a palace spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for KPMG declined to comment.

Meanwhile pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca told the Daily Telegraph it was reviewing its future with the mentoring scheme.

A spokeperson said: "Our three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace is due to expire at the end of this year and is currently being reviewed."

It came as students at the University of Huddersfield prepared to vote on whether to lobby the duke to resign from his role as chancellor, following his BBC interview on Saturday in which he said he did not regret his relationship with disgraced financier Epstein.

The university administration released a statement in support of the duke, who was appointed its chancellor in 2015, noting his previous strenuous denials of wrongdoing.

A spokesperson said the prince had “long ties” with the university and “his enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship is a natural fit with the work of the university”.

Meanwhile in a further blow to the duke’s credibility, he has been accused of using the N-word during a meeting at Buckingham Palace with a Downing Street adviser of Sri Lankan descent.

And despite reportedly believing his unprecedented TV appearance was a “great success”, he has been accused of showing an “abundance of arrogance” and a lack of concern for Epstein’s victims.

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