Ghislaine Maxwell facing charges over Jeffrey Epstein scandal
Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and close friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is facing charges after being arrested in the US.
Maxwell, who has been accused of helping to procure underage girls for the disgraced financier, was detained in New Hampshire on Thursday.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said charges over her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of girls by Epstein are to be announced at 5pm BST.
Maxwell has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by the disgraced financier, who took his own life in prison last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, claims that Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with the Duke of York at the socialite’s London townhouse.
Ms Giuffre has claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law.
Andrew, who categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre, stepped down from royal life last year after a disastrous Newsnight interview about his relationship with Epstein.
He has faced repeated calls to talk to the FBI and US prosecutors still investigating Epstein, while a row emerged in June over the duke’s availability to answer questions about the disgraced financier.
US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Andrew had sought to “falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate”, but had repeatedly declined requests to schedule an interview.
The duke’s legal team rejected these claims and said that Andrew had made three offers to give a witness statement to investigators.
Epstein’s former girlfriend Maxwell is the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell.
In a statement on Twitter, the attorney’s office said: “There will be a press conference today at noon to announce charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein.”
An indictment made public on Thursday said Maxwell facilitated Epstein’s crimes by “helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse” girls as young as 14.
The socialite faces counts of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
She also faces two counts of perjury, while the indictment says Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct.