Prince Andrew hits back at US prosecutors over Jeffrey Epstein claims

Prince Andrew's legal team has hit back at prosecutors in the United States over their claims that the Queen's son has refused to co-operate with their Jeffrey Epstein inquiries.

It's the first time the Duke of York has defended his actions since the widely criticised television interview last year.

The Prince's legal team insisted he has offered to help to US investigators on three occasions - despite their public claims to the contrary.

A statement from his lawyers Blackfords LLP said: "The Duke of York has on at least three occasions this year offered his assistance as a witness to the Department of Justice".

Questions are being asked over Prince Andrew's former friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

The legal team goes on to criticise the US Justice Department saying: "Unfortunately, the DOJ has reacted to the first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation."

The "zero cooperation" claim was made by the US Attorney Geoffrey Berman in January.

Prince Andrew's lawyers have now hit back saying: "These statements were inaccurate, and they should not have been made."

The hard-hitting statement also said the US Department of Justice breached its own rules on confidentiality - and claims they are supposed to be followed in order to encourage witnesses to co-operate.

  • Royal Editor Chris Ship explains how he is 'really surprised' with the tone of the statement

They also claim that Andrew has been subjected to lower levels of care by US prosecutors precisely because of his high-profile position as a member of the British Royal Family.

Prince Andrew is "being treated by a lower standard than might reasonably be expected for any other citizen" said the statement.

As for the formal application by the Department of Justice to the British government to compel the Duke to co-operate, the Duke's legal team said that is "disappointing".

Virginia Roberts-Giuffre was allegedly photographed alongside Prince Andrew. Credit: BBC/Panorama

The Mutual legal Assistance is a method of co-operate between two states in legal or criminal matters and it's understood the MLA was filed to the Home Office some weeks ago.

Prince Andrew has vehemently denied claims from Jeffrey Epstein's victims that they were trafficked to him for sex.

He also denied ever seeing or witnessing any wrongdoing when he stayed at Epstein's homes during their friendship.