Prince Andrew ‘asked Epstein for help with £150m oil deal during New York trip’

Epstein passed request on to his personal banker while prince stayed at his Manhattan mansion in 2010

Matt Mathers
Sunday 16 July 2023 19:34 BST
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Prince Andrew requested the help of his paedophile friend Jefferey Epstein to help secure $200 million (£153 million) in funding for an obscure oil company, it has been reported.

The King’s brother sought the assistance during a period when he was pictured with the financier in New York’s Central Park back in December 2010, according to The Mail on Sunday.

The Duke of York insisted in his car crash interview with the BBC that he met with Epstein only to terminate their friendship after the latter was jailed for child prostitution offences.

But court documents, seen by the paper, reveal that Epstein passed on the prince’s request to his private banker, Jes Staley.

Epstein forwarded the query to Mr Staley on day one of Prince Andrew’s five day stay at the New Yorker’s £60 million Manhattan mansion.

The document states: “On December 2, 2010, Jeffrey Epstein forwards an email to Staley from Prince Andrew with an inquiry the Prince received from Aria Petroleum looking for a $200m working capital line.

“Since the company is based in the US, Prince Andrew appeared to suggest Epstein connect them with a US bank.”

The court documents, which detail emails between Epstein and Mr Staley, were released as a result of a case filed against JP Morgan bank by the US Virgin Islands government.

The bank, where Epstein was a client, is being sued over claims that it knowingly benefited from his sex-trafficking operation.

JP denies any wrongdoing.

The email appears to cast doubt on Andrew’s claim that he visited Epstein to “show leadership” by telling the billionaire in person he could no longer be his friend.

The government would not be drawn on whether Andrew’s request to Epstein was made as part of his role as trade envoy or if it wa sanctioned by ministers.

Andrew stepped down from the position in 2011 after coming under heavy criticism for his association with Epstein.

Epstein died on 10 August 2019 inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was detained ahead of a pending trial accussed of recruiting dozens of teenage girls to engage in sexual acts with him and his friends in a case that generated headlines on both sides of the Atlantic,

Epstein, who was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted, was found with a noose made out of a bedsheet and the authorities ruled the death a suicide.

Prince Andrew was dragged into the scandal when Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, claimed the duke sexually abused her knowing she was underage and was trafficked to the UK by Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was jailed for 20 years for assisting Epstein.

The prince has always vehemently denied the claims. He came to a multimillion-pound settlement with Ms Guiffree in a civil lawsuit.

Prince Andrew was introduced to Epstein by Maxwell in the early 1990s and the trio enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial friendship, even after Epstein was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute in 2008.

Prince Andrew stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan for five days in 2010

The court documents did not say where Aria Petroleum was based, what its business involved or how its relationship with Andrew.

There were only two companies named Aria Petroleum operating in the US in 2010 they appeared to be local firms linked to petrol stations, the MoS reported.

One, whose address is a petrol station and small grocery store in Florida, told the paper they had never had any contact with Prince Andrew or Epstein.

The address of the second company, now dissolved, was a petrol station in Los Angeles.

Documents leaked in 2021 said that a different company named Aria Petroleum – a UK-Cypriot oil trader – partnered with another firm to supply jet fuel to US forces in Afghanistan in 2012.

Aria’s UK arm was established in the same year and paid out a £40.5 million dividend in 2018 but was shut down up two years later.

The firm’s former directors could not be reached for comment.

Prince Andrew did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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