MI6 fears that Russia may hold information potentially linking Prince Andrew to the Jeffrey Epstein abuse scandal, says a security source.
The Secret Intelligence Service is apparently worried that a disgruntled ex-cop who fled the US and was granted political asylum in Russia might have “compromising material on the royal”, reports The Times.
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the allegations in the story.
The Times’ article focuses on the “bizarre case” of John Mark Dougan, a Marine Corps veteran and former Palm Beach sheriff’s deputy.
He fled to Moscow in 2016 following an FBI raid on his home in Florida.
Dougan, who resigned from the force in 2009, angered police chiefs in America after setting up whistleblower websites throughout the country for “good cops to spill their secrets without fear or retribution”, according to his book, BadVolf.
The Times reports that MI6 is worried about how much Dougan knows of the original police investigation into the paedo’s actitivites when based in Florida, and what information the ex-cop might have shared with spooks in Russia.
The unnamed source told the paper: “His knowledge of the Epstein case would have been of great interest to Russian intelligence.”
When contacted in Moscow last week, Dougan agreed that details about Epstein might be “incredibly valuable” for any intelligence agency and might give “leverage” over “a guy like Prince Andrew”.
Epstein was believed to have kept a secret diary detailing his friendships with celebs as an “insurance policy”.
Epstein, 66, was found dead in a New York prison cell in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
In June 2008, the billionaire financier was sentenced to 13 months’ jail in a private wing of a Florida county jail, with work release, after pleading guilty to soliciting sex from girls as young as 14.
Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, and was a registered sex offender, was allowed to leave the Palm Beach County Jail and spend “much of his 2008-2009 incarceration in an office in West Palm Beach”, the Miami Herald reported in July this year.
EPSTEIN KNOWLEDGE OF COPS
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office recently issued a statement saying that its “internal affairs investigation of the deputies who guarded and supervised Epstein during his work release have become a criminal investigation as well”.
Dozens of deputy sheriffs were in charge of guarding Epstein while he was on work release in 2008 and 2009.
WPTV reports that records reveal Epstein hired deputies to guard him while he was on work release – he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week, outside his cell.
According to the New York Post, Epstein knew so much about the Palm Beach Police Department, as it investigated him in 2005, that he may have had someone inside tipping him off, said ex-police chief Michael Reiter.
Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing, saying at no stage did he “witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein’s] arrest and conviction”.
A previous Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.
“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”