The Mail on Sunday

Andrew hires top lawyer who fought to save Pinochet from being extradited

( Pity he’s teetotal )

- By Mark Hookham

PRINCE ANDREW has hired a leading extraditio­n lawyer who previously fought to keep Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from facing justice.

Clare Montgomery QC challenged the General’s extraditio­n from the UK to Spain to face multiple torture charges – a process that was eventually dropped as his health failed.

Now the Duke of York has been getting legal advice from the barrister as the FBI investigat­es his friendship with serial paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. They – as well as US prosecutor­s and lawyers for Epstein’s victims – want to speak to the Prince as part of investigat­ions into the shamed billionair­e financier’s sex-traffickin­g ring.

In January, Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the southern district of

Team includes internatio­nal arrest warrants expert

New York, accused Andrew of ‘zero co-operation’ with the inquiry.

The Duke was said to be ‘angry and bewildered’ by the claims, insisting that he had not been approached to speak about the case.

His high-powered legal team also includes criminal defence solicitor Gary Bloxsome, who has defended British troops against war- crime allegation­s, and who is an expert in internatio­nal arrest warrants.

Until now, the identity of the Duke’s lawyers has been secret.

Last week, David Boies, the lawyer for Virginia Roberts – who claims she was coerced by Epstein into having sex with Andrew on three occasions, the first in London when she was 17 – told The Mail on Sunday that even he did not know who was representi­ng Andrew. The Duke vehemently denies having had any form of sexual contact with Ms Roberts.

Ms Montgomery, is a senior barrister at Matrix Chambers, co-founded by Cherie Blair, and is believed to command fees of about £1,000 an hour.

She shot to fame in 1999 when she represente­d Pinochet in front of the Law Lords when he faced multiple allegation­s of human rights abuses. Attempts to extradite him were dropped after he was ruled unfit to stand trial.

Ms Montgomery also advised billionair­e Thaksin Shinawatra after he was ousted as prime minister of Thailand in a coup. In 2016, the legal industry bible Chambers & Partners described Ms Montgomery as ‘the most formidable member of the bar’. She is also described on the Legal 550 website as ‘terrifying­ly bright’ and ‘still the biggest brain in the criminal legal community’.

Mr Bloxsome and Ms Montgomery last night declined to comment.

HE HAS been teetotal since he was a teenager so I’m not quite sure what Prince Andrew would have made of one friend’s gift to help his 60th birthday celebratio­ns go with a swing – a four-gallon bottle of wine.

As the menu for his recent bash reveals, Andrew was given caviar and a melchior – the equivalent of 24 bottles of wine, or four gallons.

The donation was made by Soheil Dadfar, an Iranian- born friend of Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, an autocratic regime accused by Amnesty Internatio­nal of human rights violations.

The allegation­s include the arrest and torture of gay and lesbian people, and banning free speech.

So unusual was Soheil’s contributi­on that he even received a message of thanks on the bottom of the menu.

Although Andrew has been keeping a low profile since his ‘ car- crash’ Newsnight interview over his links with paedophile billionair­e Jeffrey Epstein, the menu shows that he is still determined to live like a king.

In addition to the melchior, guests at the party, held at Royal Lodge, the Duke’s home within the grounds of Windsor Great Park, were served a selection of fine French vintages to accompany each course.

They were treated to a starter of twice-baked cheese souffle with a £ 28.50 Pouilly-Fuisse; fish pie and tenderstem broccoli washed down with a 2016 Nuits-St-Georges priced at £55 for the main course; and a selection of desserts including sticky toffee pudding and treacle tart, served with a £28 Chateau Villefranc­he sauternes. The 50 or so guests at the party last month included Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, racing heir Guy Sangster and Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain. Soheil is married to Aida Mahmudova, 38, an artist and the niece of M eh rib an Aliyeva, the First Lady of Azerbaijan. The couple live in London.

 ??  ?? TRAFFICKED: Ms Roberts, then 17, says she was coerced into sex with Andrew in 2000
TRAFFICKED: Ms Roberts, then 17, says she was coerced into sex with Andrew in 2000
 ??  ?? ‘FORMIDABLE’: Clare Montgomery defended General Pinochet in the Lords
‘FORMIDABLE’: Clare Montgomery defended General Pinochet in the Lords
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 ??  ?? ON THE MENU: Andrew’s birthday dinner choices – and the note of thanks to Soheil, pictured below with wife Aida
ON THE MENU: Andrew’s birthday dinner choices – and the note of thanks to Soheil, pictured below with wife Aida
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