RICHARD PENDLEBURY: Will Robert Maxwell’s daughter spill paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s secrets? – Daily Mail
Ghislaine Maxwell was last night reported to be ready to co-operate with the American authorities in their ongoing investigation into Prince Andrew’s late friend Jeffrey Epstein.
The socialite daughter of the disgraced late media tycoon Robert Maxwell has been accused of recruiting underage girls for the financier Epstein, her benefactor and sometime boyfriend.
She has even been described as the ‘madam of the house’ by a former housekeeper at Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Hitherto, she has always emphatically denied misconduct.
It is claimed the then underage Virginia Roberts (centre), Ghislaine Maxwell (right) and Epstein were ‘all intimate together’ and Miss Maxwell referred to one of the young girls as her ‘slave’. Pictured with Prince Andrew in early 2001
Virginia Roberts, Epstein’s former ‘sex slave’ who claims she was loaned out to Prince Andrew, alleged in a a document newly released by a US court that Miss Maxwell took part in sex sessions as well.
Thomas Volscho, an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York who is writing a book about the Epstein case, said that Miss Maxwell was now ‘target number one’ for prosecutors.
‘They are going to want to hold somebody to account and there is going to be enormous pressure on Maxwell as she has been accused of being heavily involved with Epstein,’ he said. ‘I would imagine she is petrified’.
The suggestion that Miss Maxwell, 58, will assist the criminal case presents a further dramatic twist in a story which threatens to do yet more damage to the Royal Family’s public image.
It was Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah, who first introduced him to ‘Good Time Ghislaine’, as her friends called her.
The first report of their friendship was a footnote in a newspaper diary column from early 1999. ‘Prince Andrew keeps interesting company these days,’ it began. ‘He’s just attended a dinner hosted by Ghislaine Maxwell.’
By April 2000 Ghislaine and Andrew were spotted sharing one of several intimate lunch dates together. They sat hand in hand while dining on lobster salad – she sipped a champagne cocktail – at Nello restaurant on New York’s Madison Avenue.
His police bodyguard watched discreetly and fell in step behind Andrew once he had paid the £90 bill in cash. Miss Maxwell left separately in order to avoid the paparazzi.
But, she and the Duke of York were not in a romantic relationship. Indeed, as his new found confidante and social fixer she was far, far more important to him than that.
Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell at Heidi Klum’s “Hookers and Pimps”-themed Halloween party in 2000 at the Hudson Hotel in New York
Andrew had turned 40 in the first weeks of the Millennium and was in the throes of a midlife crisis, according to some royal observers. Divorced, teetotal, and piling on the pounds, he had few interests beyond his daughters, watching videos and golf.
Now, Miss Maxwell was to introduce him to another, strange and no doubt far more exciting world; that of a wealthy trans-Atlantic demi monde. And at its heart was her mysterious boyfriend-cum-patron and father figure, the multi-millionaire New York financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Private jets, VIP nightclubs and beach resorts were the necessary accoutrements for this social whirl. And with them came an endless supply of beautiful young women, often very young. Unfortunately, the prince has paid a high price for his brief sortie into this environment. He has become fixed as one of the characters in a celebrity paedophile sex scandal which will not go away.
A tranche of court papers relating to a libel case brought by Virginia Roberts against Miss Maxwell for calling her a liar were released on Friday. Among the allegations were that the prince fondled an underage girl called Johanna Sjoberg in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment and slept with Miss Roberts while on a night out with the financier in London.
Thousands more legal documents containing allegations of sexual activity by Epstein and his cronies with girls who were underage in the US have yet to be released.
One wonders at the conversation over the breakfast table yesterday morning at Balmoral Castle, where Andrew is staying with the Queen. For all his faults and weaknesses, he was said to have been her favourite child but indulgence can only stretch so far, surely. For Andrew not only became part of the Epstein-Maxwell social scene in America, he facilitated their entry into royal circles. On at least one occasion the Queen was unwitting hostess to a rapacious paedophile and the woman who is alleged to have been his procurer.
In one of the court documents released last week, an alleged victim claimed that Miss Maxwell had ‘recruited her under the guise of a legitimate assistant position, but asked her to perform sexual massages for Epstein’.
Elsewhere in the documents, it is claimed the then underage Virginia Roberts, Miss Maxwell and Epstein were ‘all intimate together’ and Miss Maxwell referred to one of the young girls as her ‘slave’.
Miss Roberts says in the document, a manuscript for a book she hoped would be published: ‘My whole life revolved around just pleasing these men and keeping Ghislaine and Jeffrey happy. Their whole entire lives revolved around sex.’
It is understood that Miss Maxwell’s lawyers rely on Miss Roberts’s account as showing that she is inconsistent and untruthful. She alleged she was aged 17 and in the company of Miss Maxwell and Epstein when she first met Andrew in London in 2001.
Virginia Roberts, Epstein’s former ‘sex slave’ who claims she was loaned out to Prince Andrew, alleged in a a document newly released by a US court that Miss Maxwell took part in sex sessions as well. Pictured, Prince Andrew with Jeffrey Epstein in New York
She and the prince danced together at Tramp nightclub before going back to Miss Maxwell’s house. There she and the prince had a bath together, she claimed. Then they ‘retired to my bedchamber for the longest ten minutes of my life’. She claims a second encounter took place months later in New York, while a third was on Epstein’s Caribbean island.
She was paid $10,000 following her encounter with Prince Andrew, she said, which she used to buy a car. The prince has always denied the allegations which were struck from a court record in 2015 when a judge described them as ‘immaterial and impertinent’.
Ghislaine Maxwell denies all such allegations. In a deposition unsealed last Friday, it was recorded that she banged the table in frustration when asked about the claims by Miss Roberts.
‘It’s borne out of years of feeling the pressure of this entire lie that she has perpetrated,’ she said. ‘That terrible story has been told and retold and rehashed when I know it to be 100 per cent false.’
Yesterday former friends and acquaintances spoke of Miss Maxwell’s enigmatic personality and the similarities between her relationships with her fraudster father and Epstein. At Marlborough public school and later at Oxford she was a member of a powerful clique. ‘She was her Daddy’s girl,’ recalls one school contemporary. ‘But you could not quite work out what made her tick.’
After her father’s death when the extent of his corruption was exposed, Miss Maxwell retreated to America where ‘she grew a second skin and an icy resolve’, says a friend. There she met Epstein, eight years her senior, whose fabulous wealth was mirrored by the obscurity of its origins and current business dealings.
‘The moment you saw them together you could see Epstein was her father substitute,’ says one friend. ‘A powerful older man. A second Robert Maxwell.’
Together they partied with the Kennedys and the Clintons and Ghislaine boasted that she was particularly close to President Bill.
In February 2000, Andrew and Miss Maxwell flew from New York to Florida on a private jet belonging to one Donald Trump. They stayed at the future president’s resort, Mar-a-Lago. The prince danced the night away at a club, flirting with a number of women and buying a £300 bottle of champagne. Then he flew back to New York with Miss Maxwell, where they attended a Ralph Lauren fashion show.
Soon it was time for Andrew to repay their hospitality. In June 2000, both Epstein and Miss Maxwell were among guests at a lavish party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen. The Dance of the Decades was to mark Andrew’s recent 40th birthday, Princess Anne’s 50th and Princess Margaret’s impending 70th, as well as Prince William’s 18th.
Jeffrey Epstein, a multi-millionaire New York financier, was Miss Maxwell’s mysterious boyfriend-cum-patron and father figure. Pictured together in 2005
Months later, Miss Maxwell and the prince attended a very different calibre of event in Manhattan that autumn – a ‘hookers and bondage’ party for which Ghislaine dressed as a streetwalker. The prince simply looked dishevelled in a suit.
The closeness of the relationship was confirmed when, in December, Andrew threw a ‘surprise’ 40th birthday party for Miss Maxwell at Sandringham. Epstein was in attendance. Within a matter of months he and Miss Maxwell appeared to have become the prince’s closest friends. It was a catastrophic error of judgment.
His ex-wife and the palace were by then voicing concerns which grew when Andrew left the Royal Family’s Christmas gathering at Sandringham to join Miss Maxwell and Epstein in Phuket, Thailand, for New Year. There he was photographed sunbathing on a luxury yacht surrounded by topless young women.
How far Ghislaine Maxwell was prepared to go to help Epstein, the man who bankrolled her fabulous lifestyle, is now a criminal matter. Today for the second time in her life she faces hard questions about the ‘father figure’ who died amid scandal. Buckingham Palace must quake at the prospect.