Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss has accused Ghislaine Maxwell of playing a “critical role” in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of underage girls and says she would like to speak to Prince Andrew in relation to the scandal.
The British socialite was today charged with sex trafficking underaged girls to be sexually assaulted by the late billionaire pedophile between 1994 and 1997
Maxwell, the daughter of the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, has also been accused of taking part in some of the abuse herself.
Sky News reports: Maxwell who has kept a low profile since Epstein‘s death in August last year, was arrested by the FBI in Bradford, New Hampshire on Thursday on charges relating to her former boyfriend and long-time associate.
Maxwell, 58, played a “critical role” in helping Epstein “identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse”, according to Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York.
It is also alleged Maxwell took part in some of the abuse.
Ms Strauss said: “Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old.
“In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.”
A court filing claimed Maxwell, who has wealth, extensive international ties, three passports, and citizenship in two other countries, posed an “extreme flight risk”.
It said she had been hiding out in locations in New England since Epstein’s arrest last July and she faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
Ms Strauss claimed Epstein and Maxwell “had a method”, where Maxwell would allegedly befriend young girls and pretend to be taking an interest in them, before trying to normalise sexual abuse.
Maxwell had “enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residence in different states” and that Maxwell would assist in their “grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse”, federal prosecutors said in court papers.
Prosecutors claimed Maxwell was well aware of Epstein’s preference for underage girls, and that he intended to sexually abuse them.
Disgraced financier Epstein, 66, was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over the course of nearly two decades.
Last year, Epstein was arrested in New York on charges of trafficking minors, but was found hanged in an apparent suicide in prison while awaiting trial.