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U.K. Minister Issues Veiled Rebuke to Prince Andrew Over Jeffrey Epstein

Jessica Shankleman
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U.K. Minister Issues Veiled Rebuke to Prince Andrew Over Jeffrey Epstein

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. government ministers are -- technically at least -- appointed by Queen Elizabeth II. So it is highly unusual for any of them to criticize a member of the Royal Family, not least because the monarch and her relations are expected to remain above politics themselves.

But the fallout from Prince Andrew’s disastrous TV interview, in which he tried to explain away his friendship with the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, sparked a rare intervention from a member of the Cabinet on Tuesday.

In a veiled rebuke, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Epstein’s victims needed to be the main concern for anyone discussing this case.

Following the hour-long interview with the BBC on Saturday, the prince was criticized for failing to acknowledge the suffering of Epstein’s victims. He largely focused on his own role in the scandal, and denied sleeping with Virginia Roberts, one of Epstein’s alleged teenage sex slaves.

“Everybody needs to remember that when serious allegations are made and when in a case like this when the perpetrator has died, there are still people out there who have suffered,” Buckland told BBC Radio 4. “They need to be at the center of our thoughts before we start to talk about individual cases.”

He refused to comment on calls for the prince to be interviewed by the FBI. Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing some of Epstein’s victims, has said he should be quizzed under oath by U.S. investigators.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly dodged questions about Prince Andrew.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs

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