‘Paedophile’s pal’ Prince Andrew ‘won’t quit trade emissary role’

March 6th, 2011 - 12:05 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 6 (ANI): Prince Andrew has reportedly promised not to quit his role as the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment despite a week of damaging revelations concerning his relationship with a convicted paedophile and links to Colonel Gaddafi and other shady figures in the Middle East.

The Duke of York has told friends he believes he is the victim of a smear campaign and has no intention of standing down from his office, as he has done “nothing improper”.

“It’s fair to say the past week has been something of a wake-up call for the Duke and he accepts that he has exercised bad judgement,” the Daily Express quoted a source as saying.

“Does he need to change? Yes, he knows that. There will be a period of taking stock. But will he quit? No, and he has the full support of the Palace. He has been attacked from all sides and there are people who clearly want his scalp, but he insists he’s done nothing improper,” the source said.

Yesterday it emerged that Andrew had entertained Sakher el-Materi, the 29-year-old son-in-law of Tunisia’s deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, at Buckingham Palace three months before the regime collapsed.

Robert Palmer of anti-corruption charity Global Witness said: “It is complete hypocrisy that you have Prince Andrew hosting an individual at Buckingham Palace who is accused of corruption and money laundering.”

A Palace insider described the mood as “stressed” saying aides had been “sucking the air through gritted teeth” as the revelations concerning Andrew’s relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein emerged last week.

The Duke has promised to sever ties with the 58-year-old financier after admitting it was “unwise” to have met Epstein in New York in December, two years after he had served an 13-month prison sentence for soliciting an under-age girl for prostitution.

“It is not the case that the Duke doesn’t take advice, it’s just sometimes he doesn’t realise the consequences of his actions, and staff are left to pick up the pieces,” the source said.

“If he is guilty of anything then it is of choosing his friends unwisely. He insists he didn’t know about anything that was going on or that Jeffrey was procuring young girls. But he has been tarred by association,” the source added.

The girl in question was then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts, who alleged in court papers that she had met the 51-year-old prince three times.

He was pictured with his arm around her bare midriff in 2001 but has told friends he “doesn’t even remember the photograph being taken”.

The prince also denies claims that he attended “naked pool parties” at Epstein’s 4million-pound Florida mansion, but admits he had massages there.

But a Palace aide insisted the Duke had only met Saif Gaddafi twice and that they were “categorically not close friends”. (ANI)

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