“I never would have associated with Mr. Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of the crimes he committed. I should have investigated his past more thoroughly, and I am sorry that I didn't”, says Crown Princess Mette-Marit in a statement to Dagens Næringsliv, the leading Norwegian business daily.
DN has investigated the Norwegian connections with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who earlier this year committed suicide after being charged with sexual assault and human trafficking.
The investigation revealed that Crown Princess Mette-Marit had a connection to Mr. Epstein. Asked for comment on November 22., the Crown Princess confirmed having been in contact with Mr. Epstein in the statement, distributed December 2.
Epstein and Mette-Marit met several times between 2011 and 2013, after being introduced through mutual acquaintances.
Epstein was charged and served 13 months in prison in 2008, after he admitted to having paid an underage girl for sexual services.
“Through years of work with questions regarding international health issues, I have witnessed first hand the kind of damage sexual assault does to women and children. We all have a responsibility to fight sexual assault, and to support the victims. I wish to express my deepest sympathy and solidarity to the victims of Jeffrey Epstein”, says Mette-Marit in the statement to DN.
Met on vacation
The Royal Palace confirms that the Crown Princess and Mr. Epstein met socially, mostly in the United States. One meeting took place in the Norwegian capital Oslo.
“One of the meetings took place at Mr. Epstein’s home. The Crown Princess also had a brief meeting with Mr. Epstein while he was in Oslo. There were other people present in all the meetings. When the Crown Princess and the Crown Prince were on vacation in St. Barts in 2012, they ran into Mr. Epstein on the street. Crown Prince Haakon then met Epstein for the first and only time”, says Mrs. Guri Varpe, head of communications at the Royal Palace.
Epstein had several homes, both in New York, Florida and Paris. Royal Palace declined to elaborate in which of these the two met.
According to Mrs. Varpe, neither Crown Princes Mette-Marit nor Crown Prince Haakon were aware of Epstein’s past.
“During the time the Crown Princess had contact with Mr. Epstein, she was not aware of the scope, nor the character of the crimes he had been convicted of, and subsequently served time in jail. She was naturally not aware of the crimes that have been uncovered later”, says Varpe.
Broke with Epstein in 2013
In 2013, the Crown Princess broke all contact with Mr. Epstein.
“In 2013, Mette-Marit chose to conclude her association with Mr. Epstein. Partly, this was because she felt that Mr. Epstein attempted to trade on the relationship he had to the Crown Princess, and use it for his own gain in other relations”, says Mrs. Varpe of the Royal Palace.
The court declined to answer several follow-up questions.
Earlier this year, DN wrote that Mr. Epstein eight or nine years ago attempted to bring at least one Eastern-European woman to Norway. None of the private jets connected to Mr. Epstein are registered as visiting Norway at that time, although Mr. Epstein visited Norway at least once during the 2010s.
Epstein was known for his large network from his base in New York City. Former US President Bill Clinton went on several trips with Epstein, aboard his private jet named Lolita. President Donald Trump has called Epstein his friend, something he later distanced himself from. In the United Kingdom, prince Andrew is facing scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein.(Vilkår)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS og/eller våre leverandører. Vi vil gjerne at du deler våre saker ved bruk av lenke, som leder direkte til våre sider. Kopiering eller annen form for bruk av hele eller deler av innholdet, kan kun skje etter skriftlig tillatelse eller som tillatt ved lov. For ytterligere vilkår se her.