Prince Andrew denies seeking help from Washington lobbyist with Trump links

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, arrives to attend a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England, on January 19, 2020. - Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Andrew is embroiled in a war of words with US authorities. (Getty Images)

Prince Andrew has denied claims that his legal team sought help from a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration to assist with the fallout of his friendship with a convicted sex offender.

The New York Times alleged Andrew’s lawyers contacted Robert Stryk, who represents people in sensitive diplomatic or legal issues and hired two of Trump’s team after the 2016 election.

The paper claimed Stryk had “expressed discomfort” at the idea of representing the Duke of York, who is embroiled in a war of words with US authorities over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

A source close to Andrew’s team said: “This looks like a lobby firm advertising. No engagements have been made or sought.”

Stryk did not comment to The New York Times.

Virginia Giuffre has accused the duke, 60, of having sex with her when she was trafficked by Epstein. On one occasion, she says, she was underage in the US.

Read more: Sir Keir Starmer calls for Prince Andrew to cooperate with US authorities

Portrait of, from left, American real estate developer Donald Trump, his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, and British Prince Andrew, Duke of York, as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Prince Andrew (right) with Donald Trump and his future wife Melania Knauss at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, in 2000. (Getty Images)
From left, American real estate developer Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in 2000. (Getty Images)

The duke denies all the allegations and pledged in November that he would co-operate with US authorities investigating the charges against Epstein, who died in prison awaiting trial for sex offences.

No charges have been filed against Andrew, but the FBI has said it would like a statement from him.

That investigation hit a new point on Thursday when former girlfriend and long-term associate of Epstein Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested and charged with helping to lure underage girls who were then sexually abused by the disgraced financier.

Maxwell and Andrew have been friends since their university days, and it is said to be through her that he knew Epstein.

In an interview on BBC Newsnight in November, Andrew claimed his association with Epstein was as a “plus one” of Maxwell.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 03: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) U.S. President Donald Trump accompanied by Prince Andrew, Duke of York visits Westminster Abbey where he laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Warrior on day 1 of his State Visit to the UK on June 3, 2019 in London, England. President Trump's three-day state visit will include lunch with the Queen, and a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, as well as business meetings with the Prime Minister and the Duke of York, before travelling to Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump with Prince Andrew during his state visit in 2019. (Getty Images)

Read more: What has Prince Andrew said about his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell?

Stryk runs a firm called Sonoran Policy Group (SPG) that carries out “global private diplomacy”. Little is known about the firm, and its website features only a single webpage with a contact phone number and email address.

Stryk’s firm has reportedly signed deals to represent the administration of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, as well as Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos and associates of a jailed Saudi prince who fell out of favour with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Trump administration calls Maduro’s administration an “illegitimate and tyrannical regime intent on destroying democratic institutions, abusing human rights, engaging in rampant corruption”.

According to Politico, Stryk helped set up a call between Trump and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern in the weeks after the US election. Shortly after, SPG was reportedly hired by the NZ government.

Yahoo UK has contacted SPG for a comment.