This article was originally published on MintPress News
While the Jeffrey Epstein scandal has largely faded from media coverage in the United States, it has continued to attract attention abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom in connection with Epstein’s long-standing association with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and the Queen’s son.
The Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship has long been a fascination of the U.K. press, with numerous articles dating back to the early 2000s detailing the most outrageous aspects of their relationship. Prior to that, Epstein had also garnered attention from U.K. newspapers regarding his association with Ghislaine Maxwell, whose reputation in the U.K. is rather notorious, as was that of her father, Robert Maxwell.
Yet, since Epstein’s arrest in July, many of these older articles on Epstein and Maxwell, as well as those focusing on the Epstein-Prince Andrew relationship, have disappeared from the archives of several prominent U.K. media outlets that reported on these relationships years ago.
Several of these articles, though largely scrubbed from the internet, were recently obtained by MintPress and a review of their contents makes the likely motive behind their disappearance clear: several articles not only reference Epstein’s connection to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence years before the first investigation into Epstein’s exploitation of minors had even begun, but also reveal surprising aspects of Prince Andrew’s involvement with Epstein that strongly suggest that the Prince partook in illicit sexual activities with minors to a much greater extent than has previously been reported.
New, disturbing details of Prince Andrew’s early links to Epstein
Since Epstein was arrested the first time in 2006 and even more so after he was arrested again this past July, those named in press reports as his associates have made every effort to distance themselves from the accused pedophile and sex trafficker. For this reason, press reports that discuss Epstein long before there was any hint of the larger scandal are particularly important for understanding the true nature of Epstein’s past associations with the rich and powerful.
In light of what is now known about Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation and sex trafficking activities, several reports from the late 1990s and early 2000s contain details long since forgotten regarding Epstein’s relationship with Prince Andrew.
One particularly censored article that appeared in London’s Evening Standard in January 2001, for instance, gives several indications regarding the apparent entrapment of Prince Andrew as part of Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation, which is now known to have been connected to intelligence — specifically Israeli military intelligence, according to recent revelations in the case.
The article, written by Evening Standard journalist Nigel Rosser, quotes a personal friend of both Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein as saying the following about their friendship with Prince Andrew:
Another friend of Maxwell and Epstein made similar claims that appear in the same article:
The article further describes Epstein and Prince Andrew as having a “curious symbiotic relationship,” adding that “wherever Ghislaine is seen with Prince Andrew, Epstein isn’t far behind.”
These quotes are particularly telling now that it is a matter of record that Epstein was seeking out rich and powerful individuals and entrapping them with minors for the purpose of blackmail. The fact that personal friends of Epstein and Maxwell at the time openly stated that their “manipulative” relationship with Prince Andrew was “very premeditated” and “probably being done for Epstein” strongly suggests that not only was the Prince entrapped, but that this type of entrapment activity was known to occur among those who were close to Epstein and Maxwell at the time.
Prince Andrew — as a member of the Royal Family, which is very protective of its social reputation, as well as the U.K. envoy for investment and trade — certainly fits into the category of people that Epstein entrapped on behalf of intelligence: rich, politically powerful, wary of damaging their social reputation, and thus susceptible to blackmail.
Notably, the year this article was published (2001), is the same year that Epstein’s most well-known accuser and victim, Virginia Giuffre (then Virginia Roberts), claims that she was introduced to Prince Andrew by Maxwell and Epstein and forced to have sex with the Prince on at least three occasions. She has also claimed that Epstein would subsequently instruct her to describe the encounters in order to learn compromising information about the Prince’s sexual habits and preferences. Her claims regarding Epstein’s trafficking of her, specifically to Prince Andrew, have since been largely corroborated by photographic evidence, flight logs, and public records.
While it appears that Prince Andrew was deliberately entrapped as part of Epstein’s intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation, the article further suggests that Andrew’s involvement with the minors exploited by Epstein went far beyond his alleged three encounters with Giuffre.
Rosser quotes a friend of Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sara Ferguson as saying that Andrew “used to be smart when he came back from abroad…He’s started having a girl massage him…He even travels abroad with his own massage mattress.”
During this same time period, Epstein and Maxwell also introduced Prince Andrew to “sex aid entrepreneur” Christine Drangsholt during a trip to Mar-a-Lago and describes Andrew traveling to Los Angeles, where he was seen “flirting…with a group of young girls,” and to Phuket, Thailand where he “wandered around the sex bars in the area’s red light district.” The Los Angeles trip saw Andrew accompanied by artist and close friend of Michael Jackson, Brett Livingstone Strong, and Ghislaine Maxwell accompanied Andrew to Thailand.
The mentions of massages from a “girl” and Andrew traveling around with Maxwell and Epstein while bringing along “his own massage mattress,” are particularly striking given what is now known about Epstein’s sex trafficking and sexual blackmail operation. Court documents, police reports, and other evidence have since made it clear that “massage” was the code word Epstein and his co-conspirators used for sex with the minors he exploited and massage tables and sex toys were frequently present together in the rooms of his various residences where he forced underage girls to engage in sexual acts with him and others.
Most notable of all is the fact that claims of Prince Andrew receiving “massages” from girls during his trips with Epstein and Maxwell were published in January 2001, at least two months before Virginia Giuffre states that she was first introduced to and forced to have sex with the Prince in March of 2001. This means that the claims of Epstein- and Maxwell-brokered “massages” refer to at least one other girl, strongly suggesting that Andrew’s involvement with minors exploited by Epstein is greater than has been recently acknowledged.
Other recently reported information has added to the likelihood that Prince Andrew engaged in illicit activities with more minors than Virginia Giuffre. For instance, the FBI recently expandedits probe into Epstein’s sex trafficking network to include a specific focus on the Prince’s role. The FBI has claimed that they are reviewing claims regarding Prince Andrew made by other Epstein victims aside from Giuffre, but did not specify the nature of those claims.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s open secret
Media reports cite Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell as having developed a close relationship at least by February 2000, when Andrew had spent a week at Epstein’s controversial New York penthouse at 9 East 71st Street. One report published in 2000 by London’s Sunday Times claimed that the two were introduced by Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, often referred to as “Fergie” in the press, and further claims that this introduction had taken place several years prior. Epstein is alleged to have first been introduced to Andrew via Maxwell in 1999.
Years after this introduction was made, Jeffrey Epstein would provide financial assistance to Ferguson at Prince Andrew’s behest by paying Ferguson’s former personal assistant £15,000, allegedly in order to allow for “a wider restructuring of Sarah’s £5 million debts to take place,” according to The Telegraph.
Oddly, by April of that year, Maxwell and Prince Andrew were spotted by their fellow diners at a posh New York restaurant holding hands, prompting both the Prince and Maxwell to claim that their relationship was merely “platonic.” However, a separate report from 2007 in the Evening Standard refers to Maxwell as one of Prince Andrew’s former girlfriends.
Within a year of their close relationship having become public, Andrew and Ghislaine were reported to have gone on eight different vacations together, of which Epstein accompanied them for five. Andrew also brought Maxwell and Epstein to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in 2000 as his personal guests.
Several reports from this period also provide interesting insight into Maxwell’s business activities and private life. One article from 2000, published in London’s Sunday Times, states that “for all her high-profile appearances on Manhattan’s A-List merry-go-round, she [Maxwell] is secretive to the point of paranoia and her business affairs are deeply mysterious.” It goes on to say that Maxwell “has been building a business empire as opaque as father’s” — referencing Robert Maxwell’s business empire, which included multiple front companies for Israeli intelligence — and adds that “her office in Manhattan refuses to confirm even the nature or the name of her business.”
On her relationship with Epstein, it states that “he’s always kept her secrets, no one knows what their relationship is really about.” An article from 2001 claims that Maxwell’s Manhattan lifestyle, her New York residence and her vehicles were all purchased by Epstein and that she was employed as his “consultant” while also acting as his social organizer and interior designer.
One report on Maxwell — which was published by the Evening Standard in 2003, years before Epstein was first publicly revealed to be exploiting minors — contains very telling information about Maxwell’s work for Epstein. It states “Ghislaine has risen, largely thanks to property developer Epstein bankrolling her, to become queen of the billionaires’ social circuit,” adding that “Jeffrey only likes billionaires or very young women and uses Ghislaine as his social pimp.” It then discusses “rumors” that Maxwell was hosting “bizarre parties at her house to which she invites a dozen or so young girls, then brandishes a whip and teaches them how to improve their sexual techniques.”
Given what is now known about Maxwell’s role as Epstein’s procurer of underage girls and her role in “training” them in sexual techniques, this passage — again from 2003 — reveals that Epstein’s and Maxwell’s dark acts were pretty much an open secret for years prior to Epstein’s first arrest in 2007.
Jeffrey Epstein, spy and property mogul?
One recurring theme in many of these older reports from the U.K. is their mention of Epstein’s alleged ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. For instance, Nigel Rosser’s 2001 article contains the following passage:
Another article, published in 1992 in the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday, describes “rumors” that linked Epstein to the CIA and the Mossad and claimed that he had worked as “a corporate spy hired by big businesses to uncover money that had been embezzled.” In addition, an article published in 2000 in London’s Sunday Times also states of Epstein that “nobody knows whether he’s a concert pianist, property developer, CIA agent, a math teacher or a member of Mossad.”
Notably, these rumors of Epstein’s links to intelligence have since been confirmed. The CIA-Mossad links to Epstein were detailed in a recent MintPress investigative series and several mainstream media reports have corroborated Epstein’s time as a self-described “financial bounty hunter” who hunted down embezzled funds and also hid stolen money for powerful people and governments.
Another odd commonality among these now-scrubbed articles on Epstein from the 1990s and early 2000s is that the majority of them refer to Epstein not as a “financier” or “hedge fund manager,” as has become common in more recent reports, but as a “New York property developer” and even as a “property mogul.”
For instance, the 2001 Evening Standard article introduces Epstein as an “immensely powerful New York property developer and financier” with an “intensively secret business life” who “owns properties all over the country [the U.S.].” It also states that Epstein had made millions from “his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner” during the 1990s and beyond.
Wexner, in addition to his other close financial ties to Epstein, was involved in several Manhattan real estate deals with Epstein and Epstein’s brother Mark while Donald Trump was then best known for his career as a New York property developer and real estate mogul. Trump is also cited in a separate article from January 2001 as being good friends with both Prince Andrew and his ex-wife. In addition, this article’s claim regarding Epstein’s most notable “business links” in 2001 contradicts Bill Gates’ recent assertions that he never had any business relationship with Epstein and did not meet with him until 2013. Notably, Gates’ former chief scientific adviser was recently named as an alternate executor for Epstein’s will and Gates appears on the flight logs of Epstein’s now-infamous private plane. Gates, one of the world’s richest men, has since claimed that he only had met with Epstein in order to meet other wealthy people and to discuss “philanthropy.”
Another article in the Evening Standard refers to Epstein as a “property mogul.” Several other articles — such as a 2000 article from Australia’s Sunday Mail, a 1995 article from Australia’s Sun Herald, and a 1995 article from the U.K.’s Mail on Sunday — also refer to Epstein as chiefly a “property developer.” Interestingly, references to Epstein as a property developer continued to occur (though less frequently) after his first arrest in 2007 and then again after his recent arrest this past July, yet oddly only in non-U.S. newspapers. Another article states that Ghislaine Maxwell had sold property on Epstein’s behalf and was also involved in the New York real estate market.
While several articles in the early 2000s describe Epstein as both “property developer” and “financier,” even earlier articles about Epstein refer to him exclusively as a “property developer.” For instance, the 1992 article in the Mail on Sunday cited above referred to Epstein as “a shadowy, almost maverick New York property developer” and noted that, even then, Epstein appeared “to have an inexhaustible supply of money and yet no one seems able to answer the question of precisely what the source.”
As will be revealed in an upcoming MintPress investigative series, these references allude to Epstein’s shady business activities in the New York and Palm Beach real estate markets from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s that were used to launder massive amounts of money for organized crime and intelligence. It is likely for this reason that Epstein’s real estate activities during this period have been so deliberately ignored by the U.S. press, even though other aspects of his financial activities were heavily scrutinized in recent months.
Indeed, in examining Epstein’s involvement in real estate markets, particularly in New York, it becomes clear that those activities have no shortage of controversial tie-ins to the current U.S. presidential administration as well as major New York power players involved in suspect financial activity immediately prior to the September 11 attacks as well as the 2008 financial crisis. All of those connections and more will be explored in MintPress’ upcoming investigative series on the financial crimes of Jeffrey Epstein and their broader implications.
Correction | An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated the name of the artist that accompanied Prince Andrew to Los Angeles in 2000 as Bruce, as opposed to Brett, Livingstone Strong.
Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera