Prince Andrew ‘sells £17m ski lodge to protect his assets’, claims lawyer for Epstein victims
A lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein’s victims has said Prince Andrew could sell his £17million alpine ski chalet to protect it from foreclosure.
Spencer Kuvin suggested the Duke could benefit from the sale if he were to lose the civil sexual assault case against Virginia Giuffre, who is seeking damages from him in New York.
Ms Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times when she was 17 and trafficked by Epstein, a former friend of the Duke.
It was speculated that Andrew was anticipating the cost of a possible settlement by listing his ski chalet in the Swiss resort of Verbier for sale.
But Mr Kuvin, who represented nine people abused by Epstein, the late pedophile, suggested to the Mirror the sale was more likely to prevent a claim against his assets.
He said: “If Virginia gets a judgment against Andrew, if it goes to trial and she receives a financial judgment in his favor, she could execute on all the properties he owns, the most likely being his ski lodge.
“If Andrew had properties in a fellow country that would respect [US jurisdiction]it can run on those properties.
He said it would be ‘very difficult’ for Ms Giuffre to make a claim on Royal Lodge, Andrew’s home in Windsor Park where he lives with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
“A diplomatic conversation [need] to have, but I imagine it would be unthinkable to come to that,” he said.
“If the Queen transferred property to her, anywhere in the world she could try to enforce that property if successful in foreign courts.”
Ms Ferguson is co-owner of the chalet, having bought it with Andrew in 2014.
Andrew strongly denied Ms Giuffre’s claims, saying she was looking for a ‘payday at her own expense’.
His lawyers announced on Wednesday that he was seeking a jury trial in his case against him.
In a letter to Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan, Andrew’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, denied several of the allegations, elsewhere saying there was a lack of “sufficient information to either admit or deny the allegations”.
Mr Brettler presented more than 10 ‘affirmative defences’ referring to the evidence Andrew will use to try to disprove the case.
Among them is the ‘unclean hands doctrine’, which claims Ms Giuffre acted unethically in relation to the accusations she made.
The letter concludes: “Prince Andrew hereby requests a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint.”
Andrew’s attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out was dismissed by Judge Kaplan earlier this month.
The judge ordered that all preliminary evidence be submitted by July for a trial later this year.
After the trial was confirmed, Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen. Buckingham Palace said he would face trial as a “private citizen”.