The FBI has been passed information from a witness claiming to have seen the Duke of York at a nightclub with a woman who alleges the pair had sex when she was a teenager.
The US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who is representing the victims of the royal’s former friend and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, said Shukri Walker recalled seeing Prince Andrew at Tramp nightclub in Mayfair and had come forward to support Virginia Giuffre’s version of events.
Giuffre, now 36, who was abused by Epstein, has claimed she had sex with Andrew on three separate occasions, and was aged 17 on the first occasion. Andrew has categorically denied her claims.
Andrew has denied Giuffre’s claim he was at the Mayfair club on the night of 10 March 2001, saying he was at home after visiting the Pizza Express restaurant in Woking with daughter Beatrice.
Bloom said Walker recalled seeing Andrew at the club with Giuffre, then called Virginia Roberts, and Epstein’s girlfriend, Maxwell.
“My client says she was there and she remembers the night clearly because she never saw a royal before or since,” Bloom confirmed to the Guardian via email. “She says Prince Andrew was happy, smiling and dancing, and Virginia did not look happy. My client was a trafficking victim herself and wants everyone to know that sex trafficking is real, ongoing and devastating.”
Bloom, who represents six alleged victims of Epstein, added: “I gave the FBI all the details of my client’s story for further investigation.”
Prosecutors working on the Epstein trafficking case have accused Andrew of refusing to cooperate with requests to interview him about his contacts with the financier, who killed himself in a New York prison last year while awaiting trial on child sexual trafficking charges.
Andrew has said in recent weeks that he is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Epstein. The duke, who no longer performs royal duties, has been under increased pressure since Maxwell’s arrest last month. She is in jail in the US on charges of trafficking minors for her former partner and will go on trial in July 2021. She has pleaded not guilty.
Lawyers representing the women are demanding that anyone with information about Epstein or Maxwell, including Prince Andrew, assist authorities.
There was no comment from Andrew’s legal representatives in relation to this alleged witness sighting. A friend of the duke questioned how accurate recollections of such events could be, 20 years after they happened.
Walker told the Sun newspaper she recalled Andrew being at Tramp because she accidentally stepped on his foot while dancing. She told the paper she had decided to speak out after watching Andrew’s denials in the now infamous BBC Newsnight interview about his friendship with Epstein and Giuffre’s allegations.
“When I watched the BBC interview and saw Prince Andrew deny knowing Virginia, saying he has no recollection of that night, I had to come forward,” Walker was quoted as saying. “Because I was there and I do have a recollection of it.”
The FBI has reportedly decided it does not need Walker’s testimony despite being given her evidence by Bloom.
An FBI spokeswoman has said it would not comment on the developments surrounding Walker.