COPS have raided the Paris home of Jeffrey Epstein as pressure intensifies for Prince Andrew to help judges investigate the financier’s alleged crimes in the city.
The raid follows Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz launching a probe into claims of abuse carried out by Epstein on victims as young as 12.
French cops raided Epstein’s luxury £7m apartment in Paris on Monday[/caption]
Agents from the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons carried out a raid on the £7m apartment in Avenue Foch, next to the Arc de Triomphe, yesterday and in the early hours of today.
There was also a simultaneous raid on Karin Models, an agency run by Jean-Luc Brunel, who is accused of helping Epstein procure women.
France Info, the French news outlet, reported: “The searches authorised by judges began on Monday at 3pm, and ended on Tuesday at 4am on Tuesday in the apartment of the American financier.
“According to the testimony of Epstein’s butler in France, whom France Info has met, the apartment has a custom-made massage room, frequented by a large number of women, some of whom had paid relations with the multimillionaire.”
Mr Heitz, the prosecutor, said his investigation would focus on crimes carried out by Epstein, 66, who committed suicide in a New York prison cell in August.
The plush apartment is in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe[/caption]
There is considerable evidence that vulnerable girls travelled between France and America, and were treated as ‘sex slaves’ by Epstein and his associates.
Guests at the Epstein property included his long-term girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, 57, who is also alleged to have helped Epstein find victims.
Prince Andrew and Maxwell, the daughter of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell, are close friends, and have travelled extensively together.
A ‘black book’ stolen by Epstein’s late butler also contains the names of numerous contacts in the French capital who could potentially be connected to the Duke of York.
Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing, saying at no stage did he “witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to (Epstein’s) arrest and conviction”.
A previous Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.
Virginia Roberts holds a photo of herself taken a year after she claims she was first abused by Epstein[/caption]
“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”
However, commenting on the French enquiry, a prosecuting source said: “The nature of the enquiry allows anyone who might have useful information to be called to give evidence.
“They can do this as witness, without initially facing criminal action. Prince Andrew would certainly be an obvious person to assist with this enquiry. He is clearly deeply involved in this case.”
Epstein was arrested on July 6 by FBI agents after he landed at Teterboro airport in New Jersey following a flight from Paris Le Bourget airport in his private jet.
US prosecutors had alleged that Epstein ‘sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls’ from 2002 to 2005 at his properties in New York and Florida.
Epstein – who faced 45 years in prison – had entered a not guilty plea when he appeared before judges on July 8.
Key witness Virginia Roberts said had also frequently been sent to France to serve as his “sex slave” when she was still a minor.
Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre – said that Epstein’s victims also included two 12-year-old girls who had been sent to him from France by “one of his friends” as “a surprise birthday present”.
Beyond Ms Maxwell, those alleged to have taken part in this sex trafficking included the French fashion scout Jean-Luc Brunel.
Both Maxwell and Brunel have firmly denied any wrongdoing.
Roberts claims she was first recruited by Maxwell, who has joint British and French nationality, to work as a masseuse to Epstein when she was aged 15.
Following a criminal conviction in the USA in 2008, Epstein was placed on a sex offenders register and served 13 months of a prison sentence.
Epstein spent three weeks at his Paris apartment before his arrest, and had frequently stayed there before this time too.
Referring to the time Epstein had boasted about abusing two 12-year-old girls, Roberts said: “It was a surprise birthday gift from one of his friends and they were from France. I did see them, I did meet them.
“Jeffrey bragged afterwards after he met them that they were 12-year-olds and flown over from France because they’re really poor over there, and their parents needed the money, or whatever the case is, and they were absolutely free to stay and flew out.”
The girls, who may have been from Eastern European, would now be aged around 30.
Ghislaine Maxwell has called Roberts a liar, prompting her to launch a defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015.
In legal depositions connection to this libel case, Roberts said: “I also had sexual intercourse with Jean-Luc Brunel many times when I was 16 through 19 years old.
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“He was another of Epstein’s powerful friends who had many contacts with young girls throughout the world.
“In fact, his only similarity with Epstein and the only link to their friendship appeared to be that Brunel could get dozens of underage girls and feed Epstein’s (and Maxwell’s) strong appetite for sex with minors.”
The libel case Roberts brought against Maxwell was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2017, and so never went to trial.