Ghislaine Maxwell denies introducing the Duke of York to Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell will appear in court on Tuesday
Ghislaine Maxwell will appear in court on Tuesday

Ghislaine Maxwell has denied introducing Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein, contradicting his claims in the infamous BBC interview.

In November last year Duke of York told Emily Maitlis that he first met the financier in 1999 through Miss Maxwell and their relationship had developed from there.

He explained: “I met through his girlfriend back in 1999 who… and I'd known her since she was at university in the UK.:

The Duke insisted that because of his closeness to Miss Maxwell it was inevitable he became friends with the disgraced financier who took his own life earlier this year.

But ahead of her court appearance in New York on Tuesday on charges of procuring young girls for Epstein, friends have dismissed the Duke’s claims that she was the person who introduced them.

One unnamed associate of Miss Maxwell said the introduction was actually made by Lynn Forester de Rothschild in 1999 at a birthday party she was hosting for her British billionaire husband, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

The friend said the party took place at the Hamptons, the exclusive beach resort outside New York, and insisted that Miss Maxwell was not even present.

The friend told the Mail on Sunday: “Ghislaine wasn’t at that party. Lynn introduced Andrew to Epstein. It was all about the money with Andrew and Epstein. Just wait and see. There is a lot more to come out.”

Miss Maxwell, 58, is expected to be formally charged with sex offences when she appears in court in New York via video link from the high security detention centre where she is currently being held.

She is expected to apply for bail offering a security of £4 million arguing that her life could be in danger if she remains in custody, either from coronavirus or from attacks by fellow inmates.

But lawyers in the United States insist she is unlikely to be given bail due to the gravity of the charges and the fact she will be considered a flight risk.

If convicted she faces up to 35 years in prison.

"First and foremost the crimes with which she is charged, the enticement and transportation of a minor for illegal sex acts, carries a presumption of detention,” explained Jodi Avergun, a former federal prosecutor and chair of the White Collar Defence and Investigations Group at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

“In this case the burden shifts to her to prove that she is not a flight risk. Normally the onus would be government to prove that she was.

“She also has to establish that the proposed bail package is enough to assure her continued appearance in court .

“The crimes with which she is charged carry a maximum prison term running into decades. The fact that she is facing a very long time in jail carries a risk of flight.

“She is also a citizen of at least three countries, which makes it easier for her to flee. She allegedly has access to tremendous wealth, which would make it easier for her to pay her way out of the country.

“The government will also argue that her wealth means she has enough money to reimburse her bail guarantors should she disappear.”

The charges she faces pre date the Duke’s introduction to Epstein, but US prosecutors have said they are still keen to speak to him about their association.

One of Epstein’s victims, Virgina Roberts, has claimed she was forced to have sex with the Duke at Miss Maxwell’s Belgravia Mews house.

The Duke has insisted he has no recollection of ever meeting Miss Robert and has denied her claims.