Big business starts cut­ting ties with prince He’s ac­cused of racial slur And now this Ep­stein vic­tim says pae­dophile tried to use duke as lure to is­land

Scottish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Mario Led­with, Re­becca English and Claire Duffin

LEAD­ING busi­nesses and char­i­ties be­gan to desert Prince An­drew last night over the Ep­stein scan­dal.

On an­other hugely dam­ag­ing day for the Duke of York, ac­coun­tancy firm KPMG said it was pro­tect­ing its rep­u­ta­tion by end­ing spon­sor­ship of his business start-up project.

In­surance gi­ant Aon asked for its name be re­moved from the scheme’s web­site and drugs maker As­trazeneca said it was re­view­ing its re­la­tion­ship.

A string of ma­jor com­pa­nies and char­i­ties are also ex­am­in­ing their links with An­drew af­ter his ex­tra­or­di­nary TV in­ter­view on Satur­day.

The Out­ward Bound Trust, which has the prince’s daugh­ter Beatrice as a trustee, is hold­ing a spe­cial meet­ing this week to dis­cuss the is­sue.

An­drew ap­peared on BBC news­night to an­swer ques­tions about his re­la­tion­ship with Ep­stein, a pae­dophile bil­lion­aire who killed him­self in jail.

The in­ter­view went down spec­tac­u­larly badly how­ever and the back­lash grew yes­ter­day when an Ep­stein vic­tim went pub­lic at a dra­matic press con­fer­ence. She said the fi­nancier had tried to lure her to his pri­vate is­land by say­ing An­drew was there.

Her lawyer joined the in­ter­na­tional clam­our for An­drew to face the US au­thor­i­ties and tell them ev­ery­thing he knows. As rep­re­sen­ta­tives of other vic­tims made the same de­mand:

Pros­e­cu­tors in France said An­drew should travel to Paris to face ques­tions

about his stay at a man­sion flat that Ep­stein owned there;

Labour and the Lib Dems added to the pres­sure on An­drew, with one front­bencher call­ing on him to give ev­i­dence to Amer­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors;

The prince was mired in fresh con­tro­versy for al­legedly us­ing the n-word – a claim he strongly de­nied – at a Buck­ing­ham Palace meet­ing with govern­ment of­fi­cials;

Stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Hud­der­s­field an­nounced they will vote on a mo­tion to lobby An­drew to re­sign as chan­cel­lor;

A poll found that just 6 per cent of the pub­lic be­lieve his ex­pla­na­tion for his re­la­tion­ship with Ep­stein.

Sources yes­ter­day said the Royal Fam­ily has been left reel­ing by the fall­out from the BBC in­ter­view and the re­newed crit­i­cism from Ep­stein’s vic­tims.

While in­sid­ers were keen not to be seen to be crit­i­cis­ing An­drew, it was clear that his wider fam­ily were ‘aghast’ at the in­ter­view and the sub­se­quent re­ac­tion. ‘Peo­ple are shak­ing their heads and won­der­ing where to go from here,’ said one.

An­other for­mer royal aide has called for the prince to ‘take a sab­bat­i­cal’ be­fore ir­re­versible dam­age is done to the char­i­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions he works with.

Ques­tions re­main as to how much the Queen knew and whether she sanc­tioned the in­ter­view. Palace of­fi­cials re­peated their line that she had been ‘aware’ of the in­ter­view but re­fused to be drawn on whether she had ap­proved it.

On a dis­as­trous day for the eighth in line to the throne pres­sure cen­tred on the char­ity that he sees as a life­line to re­pair­ing his pub­lic rep­u­ta­tion.

Dur­ing Satur­day’s ‘make or break’ ap­pear­ance on BBC’s News­night, An­drew flagged [email protected] – a Drag­ons’ Den-style scheme for en­trepreneur­s – as a vi­tal way of re­con­nect­ing with the pub­lic fol­low­ing the scan­dal. A royal aide yes­ter­day de­scribed it as one of the few ‘real suc­cess sto­ries’ of his life. But KPMG, one of Bri­tain’s lead­ing ac­coun­tancy firms, re­vealed it had cut ties with the duke. The firm was a found­ing part­ner and had paid up to £100,000 a year in spon­sor­ship since 2014.

KPMG bosses de­cided to end the re­la­tion­ship last month due to ‘un­savoury’ is­sues stem­ming from the duke’s friend­ship with

Ep­stein. The de­ci­sion was taken by the firm af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with its ‘risk com­mit­tee’ that con­sid­ers rep­u­ta­tional is­sues.

As­trazeneca, which is a ‘strate­gic part­ner’, said it was re­view­ing its three-year re­la­tion­ship which is due to end next month.

Aon was listed as the ini­tia­tive’s sole ‘global part­ner’ but sources in­sisted the com­pany was not as­so­ci­ated with [email protected] and the list­ing was an er­ror. It is un­der­stood that sev­eral firms were prompted to re­view their re­la­tion­ship with An­drew af­ter he was again ac­cused of hav­ing sex with a teenage vic­tim of the bil­lion­aire fi­nancier ear­lier this year. He ve­he­mently de­nies the claims.

A web page ad­ver­tis­ing [email protected]’s spon­sors was re­moved from the in­ter­net yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. The project has helped 931 busi­nesses, cre­ated 5,982 jobs and gen­er­ated £1.105bil­lion of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, ac­cord­ing to An­drew’s team.

The Daily Mail yes­ter­day con­tacted many other multi­na­tional com­pa­nies linked to the scheme, in­clud­ing the bank Stan­dard Char­tered and Air Asia. But none gave their back­ing to the duke and in­stead re­fused to com­ment on their links. A KPMG spokesman re­fused to com­ment last night.

A Buck­ing­ham Palace spokesman said: ‘KPMG’s con­tract with [email protected] ended at the end of Oc­to­ber. A full pro­gramme of [email protected] events is con­tin­u­ing across the United King­dom.’

‘Re­con­nect­ing with the pub­lic’

Ac­cuser: The woman, now 31, who said she was in­vited to meet An­drew

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