Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre is ‘UNLIKELY to agree to a pay-off’ to settle sex assault lawsuit as Duke ‘tries to sell £17m Swiss chalet to foot legal bills’ and Eugenie, Beatrice and Fergie fly home after Verbier ski break
Virginia Roberts Giuffre plans to reject more than £3.7million ($5m) in damages if it is offered to her by Prince Andrew – as the embattled royal reportedly considers selling his £17million Swiss ski chalet because the Queen won’t pay his legal bills, it was claimed today.
Ms Giuffre, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times on the orders of her paedophile abuser Jeffrey Epstein, does not want to do a deal and push for a trial, insiders have claimed.
She is said to want a trial to send a message that anyone ‘with power and privilege’ accused of abusing young girls will face the full force of the law.
And Ms Giuffre has told her lawyers that agreeing a multi-million pound settlement with Prince Andrew – who denies the allegations being made against him – would would not ‘advance that message’, according to the Telegraph.
He is reportedly trying to force through the sale of his £17million Swiss ski chalet to help foot the bill for his spiralling legal costs as he fights sexual abuse allegations, with Sarah, the Duchess of York reportedly supporting him financially and emotionally through the process.
Fergie, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who was holding her son August, left Switzerland from the UK this morning having been seen at Geneva Airport. The family enjoyed a New Year’s ski break at the Verbier chalet while the Duke of York kept a low profile inside the Queen’s Windsor estate, where he has been horse riding or seeing his mother for lunch.
One royal source told Page Six: ‘Sarah is fully behind Andrew and is part of his team. No one from inside Buckingham Palace has been involved in Prince Andrew’s case, or even knows anything much. It’s really just the Duke of York, Fergie and his lawyers’.
Andrew is waiting to hear if a New York judge will back his case and stop Ms Giuffre’s civil action against him, but legal experts said a hearing this week ‘couldn’t have gone worse’ for the ninth in line to the throne.
Amid growing rumours the judgment could come back this afternoon, it also emerged today:
- Andrew is thought to have watched the New York hearing from his lodge in the grounds of Windsor Castle;
- The Duke of York could have avoided being sued by Virginia Giuffre if he had apologised for his actions, sources told the New York Post;
- US prosecutors are facing a disaster after two jurors who convicted Ghislaine Maxwell of sex trafficking admitted afterwards they were also victims of sexual abuse. Maxwell’s legal team say there are now ‘incontrovertible grounds’ for a new trial;
Prince Andrew (pictured left) is reportedly trying to force through the sale of his £17million Swiss ski chalet to help foot the bill for his spiralling legal costs as fights sexual abuse allegations made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre (right)
Sarah, Duchess of York and Princess Beatrice were seen at Geneva Airport this morning as they left Switzerland for the UK today
Princess Eugenie carries her baby son August after a family ski holiday comes to an end
The Duke of York is attempting to speed up the sale of the luxurious property because his mother the Queen will not pay his lawyers’ fees. Ms Roberts, who is suing Andrew under her married name of Giuffre, claims that the prince had sex with her three times after she was trafficked by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Above: Prince Andrew, who denies the claims, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London, Britain on March 13, 2001
Andrew bought the seven-bedroom Chalet Helora, in the luxury Swiss resort of Verbier with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £16.6million
How CAN Prince Andrew afford a £17m Swiss chalet when he officially earns £250,000-a-year from his mum and has a £20,000 Navy pension?
In September last year, it was reported that Andrew and the Duchess of York were close to selling the chalet to settle a legal dispute with its former owner, Isabella de Rouvre, 74
Prince Andrew’s lavish lifestyle has always raised eyebrows because he officially earns around £250,000.
But in 2014 he could he bought a £13million seven-bedroom ski chalet in the sought-after Swiss resort of Verbier in 2014 – and now it is worth around £17million.
It later emerged he may have been paying for the chalet in chunks of around £6million over a number of years.
At the same time he also splashed out £7.5million to refurbish Royal Lodge, his 30-room home in Windsor Great Park.
Andrew’s expensive tastes are well documented, from his collection of expensive wristwatches — including several Rolexes and Cartiers, a £12,000 gold Apple Watch and a £150,000 Patek Philippe — to a small fleet of luxury cars, including a green Bentley.
Dubbed ‘Air Miles Andy’ because of his lover of his trips abroad, Andrew is said to have a £270,000-a-year income from publicly available sources.
This includes a £249,000-a-year annual stipend from the Queen, which is topped up with £20,000 from his naval pension.
Many have pondered whether his mother – who some say has a favourite son in Andrew – might be paying for his homes and jetsetting from her own money.
One acquaintance told the Sun in 2019: ‘I would compare Andrew to a hot air balloon. He seems to float serenely around in very rarefied circles without any visible means of support.’
Reports in the Mail on Sunday last year suggested the royal may have to sell the Verbier chalet, jointly owned with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, to repay part of a reported £6.7million debt.
The Sunday Times reported in September that Prince Andrew was close to selling the property. The newspaper also said an agreement had been reached with the property’s former owner, French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre, to repay the debt.
The Duke of York bought the property as a ‘family investment’, with the deeds listing them simply as Andrew York and Sarah Ferguson.
The chalet was split in two for the sale because, according to local regulations, it was too big for a sole foreign purchaser to buy outright. Legally, Andrew has the upper floor and attic space, Sarah the lower floor and basement.
The Yorks, whose finances have been hit after Prince Andrew stepped down from Royal duties after a ‘car-crash’ interview about his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, claimed Ms de Rouvre knew they intended to sell the chalet to repay the money. A source close to Miss de Rouvre said her court action has ‘severely tarnished’ her friendship with Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson
Andrew bought the seven-bedroom Chalet Helora, in the luxury Swiss resort of Verbier with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £16.6million. It emerged last year that Andrew was selling the property.
Ms Roberts, who now uses her married name of Giuffre, claims that the prince had sex with her three times after she was trafficked by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has consistently denied the allegations.
US judge Lewis Kaplan could reveal on Friday whether or not Andrew will face a full civil trial in New York after his lawyers argued this week that Miss Roberts’ case should not go to trial because of a 2009 civil settlement she made with Epstein.
If the case does go to trial and Andrew loses, Ms Roberts could be awarded a settlement which legal experts have predicted could be as much as £3million.
It emerged this week that Prince Andrew could try to settle out of court with Ms Roberts to avoid the case going to trial.
Speaking of the alleged speeding up of the sale of his chalet, a source told The Mirror: ‘It is crunch time for Andrew on several fronts.
‘He is meeting all the costs himself so he needs to raise cash fast to pay bills which are increasing by the day.
‘If there was the potential to settle, well, that is an option, but it is in no doubt that the Queen would not assist him in doing so.’
The newspaper also claimed that the Queen will not help Andrew pay for any future financial settlement which may be paid to Ms Roberts.
MailOnline has approached Buckingham Palace for comment.
In September last year, it was reported that Andrew and the Duchess of York were close to selling the chalet to settle a legal dispute with its former owner, Isabella de Rouvre, 74.
She took the case over the property, which has an indoor swimming pool and costs up to £22,000 a week to rent, to the Swiss courts.
However, Ms de Rouvre agreed to drop the legal proceedings when it emerged the property was close to selling for the asking price of £17.3million.
The Yorks are set to repay the debt once the sale of the home goes through.
The Yorks became friends with Miss de Rouvre after regularly renting the chalet for holidays with their children, Beatrice and Eugenie.
Prince Andrew and his ex-wife bought it with a mortgage and private funding from the Queen as a ‘long-term family investment’, sources claimed.
When the sale is complete, the duke will no longer own any property, it is believed.
If judge Kaplan does decide that Virginia Giuffre’s case should go to full trial, insiders said the option to settle out of court ‘remains on the table’.
Andrew’s team are understood to acknowledge the ‘attritional impact’ that the case is having on the Royal Family.
Prince Andrew is pictured in 2001 with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in Verbier, Switzerland, in 2001
Fergie was seen getting out of a private bus with her family this morning, before collecting her luggage and going into the departures terminal at Geneva
The family enjoyed a New Year’s ski break at the Verbier chalet while the Duke of York kept a low profile inside the Queen’s Windsor estate
Andrew’s daughter Princess Beatrice was pictured skiing in Verbier earlier this week with her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi
The couple were accompanied by their daughter, Sienna, and son, Christopher Wolfe, who is known as ‘Wolfie’, Beatrice made a dash for the bus to get to the ski chalet where they are guests of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York
Eugenie, 31, the youngest daughter of the Duke of York, was seen carrying her skis as she walked alongside husband Jack Brooksbank (pictured together) in the famous Swiss resort of Verbier
The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson was also pictured in Verbier this week as she holidayed with her daughters and their husbands
Rogue juror in Ghislaine Maxwell trial ‘did NOT tell court he was a sexual assault victim’ during jury selection – as jailed socialite’s lawyers push for retrial
Scotty David, the rogue juror in Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, incorrectly told the court he was not a sexual assault victim, it has been claimed
The rogue juror in Ghislaine Maxwell‘s trial incorrectly told the court he was not a sexual assault victim, it has been claimed.
The jailed socialite is hoping for a retrial in her sex trafficking case after juror Scotty David revealed he told the jury about his own abuse as a child during deliberations, potentially affecting the verdict.
He first told DailyMail.com that he had not revealed his history during jury selection because it had not been asked on the questionnaire.
When it was pointed out that question 48 of the 50 asked exactly that question, he then claimed that he did not remember it but had answered all questions ‘honestly.’
The source said: ‘He did not fill the questionnaire out correctly, then there were several questions that should have picked up same subject (by Judge Alison Nathan).’
If confirmed, it would be the latest blow to the prosecution as defense team pushes for mistrial with the conviction in chaos.
The judge told the New York court during jury selection that ‘if a juror is going to lie and be dishonest, we will smoke that out’.
Legal experts said that if David failed to disclose his past experiences before the jury deliberations, Maxwell could have grounds to claim a mistrial and have her convictions quashed.
The juror has now hired lawyer Todd Spodek, who represented ‘fake heiress’ Anna Sorokin, as Maxwell fights to have the conviction thrown out and have a mistrial.
He rejected prosecutors’ offer to appoint counsel for him when they called for a court investigation in an apparent attempt to get ahead of events branded ‘a disaster’ by legal experts.
Maxwell’s defense team has wasted no time rejecting a prolonged investigation and calling for a mistrial.
David was the first of two jurors who have revealed their stories of sexual abuse and the role that sharing it played in deliberations.
He also revealed that a second juror had shared their own story of sexual abuse, a claim later verified by the juror who wished to remain anonymous.
The Queen, 95, is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee in June but has the threat of a scandalous sex trial involving her son hanging over her.
‘Obviously, this is a US case involving US lawyers and involving a US civil lawsuit,’ one source said. ‘In reality, 99 per cent of US civil litigations are settled out of court.
‘A settlement would always be an option on the table, as that’s where the vast majority end up. There is also the wider pressure and attritional impact to consider.’
Sources with knowledge of the case stressed this week to the Daily Mail that no discussions have taken place yet about whether the Queen’s son could – or should – agree a settlement without liability being admitted.
But neither had it been ruled out as an option, they said.
Buckingham Palace refused to comment, describing it as an ‘ongoing legal matter’.
The issue of whether to settle out of court is a tricky one for the ninth in line to the throne, whose lawyers argued this week in a New York court that Miss Roberts’ case should not be allowed to proceed to trial because of her own 2009 civil settlement with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew’s legal team say that in return for a $500,000 (£370,000) payout, she agreed to waive her right to sue any other ‘potential defendants’ – which would include the prince, given the allegations she has made against him.
Miss Roberts claims that not only was she abused by Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, but that they ‘trafficked’ her to their friend, the prince.
In her claim for battery and infliction of emotional distress, she claims she was raped by the duke on three occasions in 2001 when she was 17 and he 41.
On the one hand agreeing a no-liability settlement would prevent Andrew going through the humiliating experience of being interviewed by Miss Roberts’ lawyers, who will be able to question him about everything from his sexual partners to the minutiae of his dealings with Epstein and with Maxwell, found guilty last month of sex trafficking.
They may seek answers from other family members, including his ex-wife Sarah and potentially other senior royals.
But a settlement would clearly do little to help the 61-year-old prince clear his name, as he says he desperately wants to do.
Andrew has always vehemently denied the allegations, saying he doesn’t even recollect meeting Miss Roberts, despite there being a picture of them together with Maxwell.
And a settlement is unlikely to help him achieve his long-held ambition of returning to public life in some form.
After his disastrous BBC interview in 2019 with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, the prince temporarily stepped back from public duties.
A settlement would also not prevent the FBI from pursuing its investigation – its agents would like to speak to Andrew as a potential witness to Epstein’s crimes.
Andrew’s legal team this week argued that Miss Roberts’ case should be thrown out on several grounds: her previous settlement, the fact that she has not given enough specifics about the alleged abuse and that her pursuit of the case was ‘unconstitutional’.
Judge Kaplan told the two parties on Tuesday that he would issue his ruling on whether the case should go to trial ‘pretty soon’ and it is expected any day.
But the early signs for Andrew were not good after the judge verbally dismissed many of their arguments.
Andrew’s legal team is unlikely to appeal if the judge rules against them. A trial date has tentatively been set for September.
The Daily Mail understands that Andrew’s legal team still have other avenues to pursue to get the lawsuit kicked out, including the suggestion that Miss Roberts, who lives with her family in Australia, is not domiciled in the US, allegedly rendering her case invalid.
Miss Roberts’s lawyer, David Boies, said the case might not even have come to court if Andrew had shown some ‘remorse and respect’ for Epstein’s victims.
Ghislaine Maxwell gives Jeffrey Epstein a foot massage on his private jet dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’. The photo was entered into evidence in Maxwell’s case on December 7 by the US Attorney’s Office
Prince Andrew walks through New York’s Central Park with Jeffrey Epstein following the latter’s prison term in 2011
Prince Andrew is interviewed for the BBC’s Newsnight in November 2019. In the interview, Andrew denied Ms Giuffre’s claim that they had shared a sweaty dance at a London nightclub, saying that at the time he could not sweat due to a condition