London: Prince Andrew was not given a penny of public funds to pay off his accuser, the Treasury insisted, as the settlement was finalised on Wednesday AEDT.
The multimillion-pound payment to Virginia Roberts Giuffre brings to an end a seven-month legal battle that has left Andrew’s reputation in tatters.
Prince Andrew in 2015.Credit:AP
A joint order filed with the New York court called for the civil action to be dismissed. It stated that each side would cover its own costs and fees.
Andrew, 62, reached the out-of -court settlement with Giuffre last month, which meant he would no longer face a jury trial on claims that he sexually abused and raped her on three separate occasions when she was 17.
The financial deal is understood to exceed £12 million ($21 million), including a £2 million contribution to Giuffre’s sex trafficking charity thought to have been paid by the Queen. Her Majesty has privately funded the Duke’s legal fight since he was first cast adrift by the Royal family in late 2019, following his disastrous Newsnight interview.
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre.Credit:AP, BBC
Prince Charles is also said to have made a hefty financial contribution to the settlement in order to allow his brother to draw a line under the case and avoid further damaging the reputation of the monarchy, particularly in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
Buckingham Palace has steadfastly refused to comment. But it has been criticised for failing to address concerns that taxpayers’ money may have gone towards the payoff.
Norman Baker, the former MP, has said it would be “outrageous” if the taxpayer were forced to pay for the settlement. Andy McDonald, a Labour MP, raised a point of order on the issue in the Commons last month and also wrote to Steve Barclay, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, asking him to confirm that no public funds had been used to pay Giuffre.
A Freedom of Information request, filed on February 15, asked whether public money was used for the out-of-court settlement or Andrew’s legal costs.
The Treasury’s response was published at 4.30pm on Tuesday, just two hours after the court documents were filed calling for the legal action to be dismissed. It said: “No public money has been used to pay legal or settlement fees you refer to.”
The Queen receives an annual payment from the Government in the form of the Sovereign Grant, which is used to fund the Royal family’s official duties. Any financial contribution towards Andrew’s legal battle is thought to have come from private income.
Andrew has always denied Giuffre’s allegations, insisting he had “no recollection” of meeting her.
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