MI6 is reportedly concerned that Russia has evidence that could link Prince Andrew to the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse scandal.
Spy chiefs are said to be worried that a former Florida deputy sheriff who had access to the investigation into Epstein has provided sensitive information about the case to Russian intelligence officials.
A source told The Times that John Mark Dougan, a former deputy in the Palm Beach County sheriff’s office, has made contact with the Russian government since moving to Moscow.
Mr Dougan was part of the original investigation into Epstein after a Palm Beach woman claimed in 2005 that the billionaire had paid her 14-year-old stepdaughter $300 to strip to her underwear and perform an “erotic massage”.
Mr Dougan said on Facebook in July that he had spoken to investigators about the case when it was reopened and still has confidential documents no one else has seen.
The former officer himself said the information would be “incredibly valuable” for any intelligence agency and might give “leverage” over “a guy like Prince Andrew”.
“His knowledge of the Epstein case would have been of great interest to Russian intelligence,” the source said.
It comes as Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, said she was forced into sexual encounters with the Duke of York, who “knows the truth”.
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Mrs Giuffre is one of 16 women who say they were abused by convicted paedophile Epstein, and she has previously claimed in court papers that she was forced to have sex with Andrew as a 17-year-old.
Her allegations, which Andrew strongly denies, were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.
In her first broadcast interview along with five other alleged victims, Mrs Giuffre said she was forced into three sexual encounters with Andrew: in London, in Epstein’s New York mansion, and in the US Virgin Islands.
Buckingham Palace has previously contested reports about Andrew’s relationship with Epstein, including a private jet flight they are said to have shared with Mrs Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts.
Mrs Giuffre said she was introduced to Epstein, and later Andrew, by the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
She said: “The first time in London I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and said: ‘You’re going to meet a prince today’.
“I did not know at that point I was going to be trafficked to that prince, and then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London.”
Mrs Giuffre said she spent a night in Mayfair’s exclusive Club Tramp with Andrew, Epstein and Ms Maxwell.
She continued: “We leave Club Tramp and I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey, and Ghislaine said ‘he’s coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein’.
“I couldn’t believe it.”
Describing Andrew after the alleged incident, she said: “He wasn’t rude or anything about it, he said thank you and some kind of soft sentiments like that, and left.
“I couldn’t believe that even royalty were involved.
“He denies that it ever happened, and he is going to keep denying that it ever happened, but he knows the truth and I know the truth.”