It was the damning picture of him strolling through New York’s Central Park in 2010 with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein that triggered Prince Andrew’s dramatic downfall.
During his catastrophic BBC interview with Emily Maitlis four years ago, the Prince insisted the ‘sole purpose’ of visiting Epstein in December 2010 was to break off their friendship because of the billionaire’s 18-month jail sentence for child prostitution offences.
Andrew insisted he had to ‘show leadership’ and tell Epstein in person.
But now a bombshell legal document seen by The Mail on Sunday reveals how at the time of his New York visit, the King’s brother had also requested Epstein’s help with securing $200 million (£153 million) in funding for a mysterious fuel company.
Epstein forwarded the request to his private banker Jes Staley on the first of at least five days that Andrew spent at Epstein’s £60 million Manhattan mansion.
It was the damning picture of him strolling through New York’s Central Park in 2010 with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (pictured right) that triggered Prince Andrew’s (pictured left) dramatic downfall
During his catastrophic BBC interview with Emily Maitlis (pictured left) four years ago, the Prince insisted the ‘sole purpose’ of visiting Epstein in December 2010 was to break off their friendship because of the billionaire’s 18-month jail sentence for child prostitution offences
The document states: ‘On December 2, 2010, Jeffrey Epstein forwards an email to Staley from Prince Andrew with an inquiry the Prince received from Aria Petroleum looking for a $200m working capital line.
‘Since the company is based in the US, Prince Andrew appeared to suggest Epstein connect them with a US bank.’
The message seems to undermine Andrew’s justification for visiting Epstein and raises new questions about his role as Britain’s roving trade ambassador between 2001 and 2011.
The Government this weekend declined to say whether the approach to Epstein was made as part of his role as trade envoy or if it was sanctioned by ministers.
However, former minister Norman Baker said: ‘Andrew’s case that he flew over to America to break up relations with Jeffrey Epstein was threadbare at best. Now it’s been shot through to pieces.’
The 22-page document, detailing emails between Epstein and Staley, has been released as a result of a case filed against JP Morgan bank by the US Virgin Islands government.
The bank, where Epstein was a client, is being sued over claims that it knowingly benefited from his sex-trafficking operation.
The messages do not make clear where Aria Petroleum was based, what exactly its business was or how it managed to approach a senior member of the Royal Family.
A bombshell legal document seen by The Mail on Sunday reveals how at the time of his New York visit, the King’s brother had also requested Epstein’s help with securing $200 million (£153 million) in funding for a mysterious fuel company
The only two companies named Aria Petroleum trading in the US in 2010 appear to be local firms linked to petrol stations.
One, whose address is a petrol station and small grocery store in Florida, told an MoS reporter they had never had any contact with Prince Andrew or Epstein.
The address of the second company, now dissolved, was a petrol station in Los Angeles.
Documents leaked in 2021 claimed that a different company named Aria Petroleum – a UK-Cypriot oil trader – partnered with another firm to supply jet fuel to US forces in Afghanistan from 2012.
Aria’s UK arm was established that same year and paid out a £40.5 million dividend in 2018. It was wound up two years later.
The former directors could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the legal document also reveals how Epstein emailed Staley to tell him Andrew wanted to represent in China the interests of an organisation he called ‘casanov’.
It states this may have been JP Morgan Cazenove – Cazenove being a UK investment banking business known as the Queen’s broker, and one of the City’s oldest firms before its banking business was bought in 2009 by Wall Street giant JP Morgan.
In his book Blue Blood, Robert Pickering, Cazenove’s former chief executive, recalled a meeting with Andrew when he was trade ambassador.
‘The Duke had a habit of asking questions… so left-field that I struggled to answer,’ he said.
Prince Andrew was contacted for comment.