Jeffrey Epstein, 66, hung himself last month while awaiting trial for child sex trafficking
French police have raided the former Paris home of Jeffrey Epstein – as pressure intensifies for Prince Andrew to help the French investigation.
It follows the Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, launching a probe into alleged abuse carried out by Epstein, the late convicted paedophile financier, on victims as young as 12.
Agents from the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons carried out a raid on the £7.14m ($8.6m) Epstein apartment in Avenue Foch, next to the Arc de Triomphe, on Monday and Tuesday.
There was also a simultaneous raid on Karin Models, an agency run by Jean-Luc Brunel, who is suspected of helping Epstein procure women.
France Info, the French news outlet, reported: ‘The searches authorised by judges began on Monday at 3pm, and ended on Tuesday at 4am on Tuesday in the apartment of the American financier.
French investigators conducted a search at the Paris flat of child sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein on Monday (pictured: building owned by Epstein in the 16th arrondissement of Paris)
‘According to the testimony of Epstein’s butler in France, whom France Info has met, the apartment has a custom-made massage room, frequented by a large number of women, some of whom had paid relations with the multimillionaire.’
Mr Heiz, the prosecutor, said his investigation would focus on crimes carried out by Epstein, 66, who committed suicide in a New York prison cell in August.
There is considerable evidence that vulnerable girls travelled between France and America, and were treated as ‘sex slaves’ by Epstein and his associates.
Guests at the Epstein property included his long-term girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, 57, who is also alleged to have helped Epstein find victims.
Prince Andrew and Maxwell, the daughter of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell, were friends, and have travelled extensively together.
A ‘black book’ stolen by Epstein’s late butler also contains the names of numerous contacts in the French capital who could potentially be connected to the Duke of York.
Commenting on the French enquiry, a prosecuting source said: ‘The nature of the enquiry allows anyone who might have useful information to be called to give evidence.
‘They can do this as witness, without initially facing criminal action. Prince Andrew would certainly be an obvious person to assist with this enquiry. He is clearly deeply involved in this case.’
Epstein was arrested on July 6 by FBI agents after he landed at Teterboro airport in New Jersey following a flight from Paris Le Bourget airport in his private jet.
Jean-Luc Brunel with Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, are alleged to have procured underage girls for the deceased paedophile
U.S. prosecutors had alleged that Epstein ‘sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls’ from 2002 to 2005 at his properties in New York and Florida.
Epstein – who faced 45 years in prison – had entered a ‘not guilty’ plea when he appeared before judges on July 8.
Key witness Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew when she was 17, said she had also frequently been sent to France to serve as Epstein’s ‘sex slave’ when she was still a minor.
Ms Roberts Giuffre said that Epstein’s victims also included two 12-year-old girls who had been sent to him from France by ‘one of his friends’ as ‘a surprise birthday present’.
Beyond Ms Maxwell, those alleged to have taken part in this sex trafficking included the French fashion scout Jean-Luc Brunel.
Both Ms Maxwell and Mr Brunel have firmly denied any wrongdoing, as has Prince Andrew.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was first recruited by Maxwell, who has joint British and French nationality, to work as a masseuse to Epstein when she was aged 15.
Following a criminal conviction in the USA in 2008, Epstein was placed on a sex offenders register and served 13 months of a prison sentence.
Epstein spent three weeks at his Paris apartment before his arrest, and had frequently stayed there before this time too.
Referring to the time Epstein had boasted about abusing two 12-year-old girls, Ms Roberts Giuffre said: ‘It was a surprise birthday gift from one of his friends and they were from France. I did see them, I did meet them.
‘Jeffrey bragged afterwards after he met them that they were 12-year-olds and flown over from France because they’re really poor over there, and their parents needed the money, or whatever the case is, and they were absolutely free to stay and flew out.’
The girls, who may have been from Eastern European, would now be aged around 30.
The apartment building owned by Jeffrey Epstein in the 16th arrondissement of Paris
Ghislaine Maxwell has called Ms Roberts Giuffre a liar, prompting Ms Roberts Giuffre to launch a defamation suit against Ms Maxwell in 2015.
In legal depositions connection to this libel case, Ms Roberts Giuffre said: ‘I also had sexual intercourse with Jean-Luc Brunel many times when I was 16 through 19 years old.
‘He was another of Epstein’s powerful friends who had many contacts with young girls throughout the world.
‘In fact, his only similarity with Epstein and the only link to their friendship appeared to be that Brunel could get dozens of underage girls and feed Epstein’s (and Maxwell’s) strong appetite for sex with minors.’
The libel case Virginia Roberts Giuffre brought against Ms Maxwell was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 2017, and so never went to trial.