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‘Pimp’ and best friend to an heir to our throne

Now at last Ghislaine Maxwell is facing justice. PETER FROST fills in some gaps in her case

AT LAST Ghislaine Maxwell, after spending months in hiding in Britain, France and the US, has been arrested in a luxurious multimillion-dollar mountaintop home — called Tuckedaway in Bradford, New England. She had paid cash for the house so it couldn’t be traced back to her. 
 
Questioning by the FBI may, at last, answer the many questions about her relationships with Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew and the dozens of underage girls she allegedly groomed for convicted paedophile Epstein and his many rich and powerful friends like the prince.  

Maxwell will appear in a Manhattan court this week facing charges of ensnaring the girls. 

Claims about her role in her ex-partner’s repugnant sex abuse regime mean she could face a potential life sentence, even if she tries a guilty plea bargain.

Her alleged victims, who have waited decades for justice, hope they now have the opportunity to hold Maxwell to account for her role in what prosecutors describe as grooming and abuse of dozens of girls and women. 

One of them, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, says she was trafficked by Maxwell and Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew in three separate locations, Maxwell’s multimillion Bayswater house in London where she was photographed with Prince Andrew’s arm around her bare midriff with Maxwell looking on and in Epstein’s house in New York and his private island in the Caribbean. 

Giuffre says she felt “horrified and ashamed” after having sex with the royal.

She has dismissed the prince’s denials as “ridiculous excuses” that he knew were untrue. 

She told BBC’s Panorama: “One thing that I can tell you is you never forget the face of someone who has heaved over you.”

“I mean, come on. I’m calling BS [bullshit] on this, because that’s what it is. He knows what happened. I know what happened, and there’s only one of us telling the truth — and I know that’s me.”

Maxwell herself is charged with four counts of procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury. 

She is unlikely to get bail and will be held in the same city jail where paedophile Epstein either killed himself or was murdered in August of last year.

The FBI, not unexpectedly, judges her an extreme flight risk given her vast wealth and international circle of the rich, famous and immoral who either owe her a favour or would not like to see her testify.

At a press briefing, acting Manhattan US attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Maxwell was among Epstein’s closest associates and helped him exploit girls who were as young as 14 years old.

“She played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse and is accused of luring the girls by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies. She was well aware that Epstein lusted after underage girls and sexually abused them.”

According to prosecutors, Maxwell herself would strip naked to make the girls feel more comfortable when they were asked to undress to massage Epstein. 

She would allegedly join in with Epstein and his fellow abusers touching and using sex toys to penetrate the young victims as well as having them touch his genitals while he masturbated.

Prosecutors say the abuse took place at Epstein and Maxwell’s luxury homes in London, New York and Palm Beach, Florida, and involved scores of underage girls, many chosen by Maxwell when they revealed their abused childhoods to her. Often guests would be invited to join in the abuse.

How could this comfortably off friend of the rich famous, and even royalty, apparently sink to such depraved and hard-to-believe behaviour? 

In order to understand Ghislaine Maxwell’s situation you need to know about her father, Robert Maxwell.

Just like Epstein, her later lover and partner, her father was a criminal businessman and fraudster whose life ended in what is still debated as being either suicide or murder.

Her father was originally Czech. He made his first fortune selling the copyright of German scientific journals seized by him when a British officer as part of war reparations. 

He went on to become a Labour MP; an enthusiastic zionist; a newspaper publisher; owner of much of Britain’s print industry; a football team owner; a suspected spy for Israeli Mossad — and perhaps British MI5 and or Russia’s KGB. 

Everything he did had the distinct fingerprints of very dodgy dealings.

When he finally jumped, or was pushed, naked, from the stern of multimillion-pound luxury yacht — ironically named Lady Ghislaine after his youngest daughter — his carefully concealed frauds unravelled and the world discovered he had stolen the entire Mirror Group pension fund, other pensions and various people’s monies under his control.

Maxwell’s death saw panicking banks frantically calling in their massive loans. 

His sons Kevin and Ian struggled to hold the empire together, but were unable to prevent its collapse.

It emerged that Maxwell Snr had robbed over £500 million from his companies’ pension funds to shore up the shares of the Mirror Group and save his companies from bankruptcy.

Maxwell pensioners generally received less than half of their company pension entitlement — some got nothing at all. 

In 1996, Kevin and Ian were acquitted of conspiracy to defraud. 

I have a personal memory of Maxwell’s meanness and duplicity. In the early ’80s I lived near Watford where Maxwell owned many of the giant print works. 

Just before Christmas my good friend and neighbour Dick Power, a communist and National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants father of the chapel in one of Maxwell’s plants, arrived at my house spitting blood. 

Maxwell had got the contract to print a booklet commemorating the brand new pound coin. 

Each booklet had a recess in the thick card back cover containing one of the shiny new coins. 

In lieu of his usual Christmas card to every employee, Maxwell had kindly sent them all a copy of the booklet with his seasonal greetings. 

In every case the pound coin had been carefully removed.

With a father like that perhaps no surprise that Ghislaine Maxwell would end up as she did. 

The immense wealth she inherited ensured she could still mix with the rich, famous, but not always too honest, movers and shakers on both sides of the ocean.

Over 30 years ago she became close friends with Prince Andrew, the Queen’s favourite child and in those days second in line to the throne after his elder brother Charles. 

Poor old Andrew has now slipped down the list and is now eighth in line after a bunch of younger royals.

Prince Andrew AKA the Party Prince’s morals were often in question from dating porn stars to having his wife offer businesspeople the chance to privately meet the prince for £500,000.

The prince and Maxwell have been close friends for decades, indeed Andrew has often described Ghislaine Maxwell as his best friend. 

Throughout his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview, Andrew claims many of his meetings with Epstein were really meetings with Maxwell. 

He described invites to meet the Queen, visit Windsor, Sandringham and Buckingham Palaces as invites to Maxwell plus one. That plus one always happened to be convicted paedophile Epstein.

This trial is sure to uncover the cesspit of immorality that includes “Just grab em by the pussy” Donald Trump — himself a long time friend of Maxwell and Epstein, at least one heir to the British throne and so many others who think themselves so rich and important — like Jimmy Savile — that they can abuse anyone they care to. 

Many of them should probably be standing beside Ghislaine Maxwell in the dock. 

However if US law enforcement is to be believed, one rather royal personage will probably choose to take the fifth amendment and refuse to speak to them at all despite his assurances that he has nothing to hide. 

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