In 2010 a shocking photo of him walking in New York’s Central Park with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein led to Prince Andrew’s dramatic downfall.
During a disastrous BBC interview with Emily Maitlis four years ago, the Prince insisted that the ‘sole purpose’ of meeting Epstein in December 2010 was to end their friendship as the billionaire was jailed for 18 months for child prostitution.
Andrew insisted that he had to ‘show leadership’ and tell Epstein in person.
But now a bombshell legal document seen by The Mail on Sunday reveals how during a visit to New York, King’s brother solicited Epstein’s help in securing $200 million (£153 million) in financing for a mysterious fuel company.
Epstein sent the request to his private banker Jess Staley at least five days after Andrew spent Epstein’s £60m Manhattan mansion.
The infamous photo of Prince Andrew (pictured left) walking through New York’s Central Park in 2010 with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein (pictured right)
During a disastrous BBC interview with Emily Maitlis (pictured left) four years ago, the Prince insisted that the ‘sole purpose’ of meeting Epstein in December 2010 was to end their friendship as the billionaire was sentenced to 18 months in prison for child prostitution.
The document states: ‘On December 2, 2010, Jeffrey Epstein forwarded an email from Prince Andrew to Staley seeking a $200 million working capital line from Prince Aria Petroleum.
‘As the company is based in the US, Prince Andrew advised Epstein to connect them with a US bank.’
The message appears to undermine Andrew’s justification for Epstein’s visit and raises new questions about his role as Britain’s trade envoy between 2001 and 2011.
The government this weekend declined to say whether it was made to Epstein as part of his role as trade envoy or whether it was approved by ministers.
However, former minister Norman Baker said: ‘The fact that Andrew flew to America to break up with Jeffrey Epstein was threadbare at best. Now it’s shot to pieces.’
The 22-page document detailing emails between Epstein and Staley was released as a result of a lawsuit filed by the US Virgin Islands government against JP Morgan Bank.
The bank, where Epstein was a client, is being sued, claiming it knowingly benefited from his sex-trafficking operation.
The messages do not clarify where Aria Petroleum was based, exactly what its business was or how it was able to communicate with a senior member of the royal family.
A bombshell legal document seen by The Mail on Sunday reveals how during his visit to New York, King’s brother requested Epstein’s help in securing $200 million (£153 million) in funding for a mysterious energy company.
In the United States in 2010 only two companies named Aria Petroleum appear to be local companies associated with gasoline stations.
One, whose address is a petrol station and small grocery store in Florida, told an MOS reporter that they had no contact with Prince Andrew or Epstein.
The address of the second company, now defunct, was a petrol station in Los Angeles.
Documents leaked in 2021 claimed that a different company called Aria Petroleum – a UK-Cypriot oil trader – had partnered with another firm to supply jet fuel to US forces in Afghanistan since 2012.
Aria’s UK arm was established the same year and paid £40.5 million in dividends in 2018. It closed after two years.
The former directors could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the legal document also reveals how Epstein emailed Staley to let him know that Andrew wanted to represent the interests of a company called ‘Casanov’ in China.
It said it could be JP Morgan Cazenove – Cazenove is a UK investment banking business known as the Queen’s Broker, and one of the oldest firms in the City before its banking business was bought by Wall Street giant JP Morgan in 2009.
In his book Blue Blood, Robert Pickering, Cazenove’s former chief executive, recalls a meeting with Andrew when he was a trade ambassador.
‘Duke had a habit of asking questions … so out of left field that I struggled to answer,’ he said.
Prince Andrew has been contacted for comment.