Prince Andrew ‘selling £17m ski chalet to protect assets’, Epstein victims’ lawyer claims

Duke’s alpine lodge most likely target for Virginia Giuffre if she wins damages, says lawyer

Liam James
Wednesday 26 January 2022 22:52 GMT
Andrew bought the alpine lodge in 2014
Andrew bought the alpine lodge in 2014 (Getty/Shutterstock)

A lawyer for victims of Jeffrey Epstein has said Prince Andrew might be selling his £17m alpine ski chalet in order to protect it from seizure.

Spencer Kuvin suggested that the duke could benefit from the sale if he were to lose the civil sex assault case against Virginia Giuffre, who is seeking damages from him in New York.

Ms Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions when she was 17 years old and being trafficked by Epstein, a former friend of the duke.

It has been speculated that Andrew was anticipating the cost of a potential settlement by putting his ski lodge in the Swiss resort of Verbier up for sale.

But Mr Kuvin, who represented nine people abused by Epstein, the late paedophile, suggested to the Mirror the sale was more likely about preventing a claim against his assets.

He said: “If Virginia gets a judgment against Andrew, if this went all the way through to trial and she received a financial judgment in her favour, she could execute on any properties he has, the most likely being his ski chalet.

“If Andrew had properties in any companion country that would abide by [US jurisdiction], she can execute on those properties.”

He said it would be “very difficult” for Ms Giuffre to make a claim on Royal Lodge, Andrew's Windsor Park home where he lives with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.

“A diplomatic conversation would [need] to be had, but I imagine it would be unthinkable that it would come to that,” he said.

“If the Queen has transferred any property to him, anywhere throughout the entire world, they could try and execute on that property if successful in foreign courts.”

Prince Andrew's £17m chalet in Verbier, Switzerland
Prince Andrew's £17m chalet in Verbier, Switzerland (Geoff Pugh/Shutterstock)

Ms Ferguson is a co-owner of the chalet, having bought it together with Andrew in 2014.

Andrew has strongly denied Ms Giuffre's allegations, claiming she is after a “payday at his expense”.

His lawyers announced on Wednesday that he is demanding a jury trial in her case against him.

In a letter to presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan, Andrew’s lawyer Andrew Brettler denied several of the allegations, elsewhere saying he lacked “sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations”.

Mr Brettler set out more than 10 “affirmative defences” referring to evidence Andrew will use to try to disprove the case.

Among them is the “doctrine of unclean hands”, which claims Ms Giuffre has acted unethically in relation to the charges she has brought.

The letter concludes: “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint.”

Andrew's attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out was rejected by Judge Kaplan earlier this month.

The judge has ordered that all preliminary evidence be submitted by July for a trial late this year.

After the trial was confirmed Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen. Buckingham Palace said he would face the trial as a “private citizen”.

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