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UK Epstein victims yet to come forward, says fund lawyer

Last August, the disgraced American financier killed himself before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

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Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (John Minchillo/AP)

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (John Minchillo/AP)

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell (John Minchillo/AP)

British victims of the late Jeffrey Epstein have yet to come forward, a US lawyer for a compensation fund has said.

Epstein, a former friend of the Duke of York, spent time in London in the 1990s, when he allegedly abused underage girls as young as 14.

Last August, the disgraced American financier killed himself before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

On Thursday, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was charged in the US with facilitating his sexual exploitation of girls.

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Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000 (Chris Ison/PA)

Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000 (Chris Ison/PA)

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Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000 (Chris Ison/PA)

Meanwhile, victims can now file claims against his 630 million dollar (£505 million) estate through the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Programme.

US lawyer Jordana Feldman, architect of the programme, encouraged more British women to come forward.

She said: “We believe there are victims yet to come forward around the world, including in the UK.”

Jill Greenfield, head of personal injury at London-based Fieldfisher, has been advising on potential proceedings against the Epstein estate for allegations of sexual assault.

She said: “This fund is very good news for Epstein victims both in the US and in the UK.

“Anything that eases the process for victims of sexual assault to receive financial support is extremely positive.

“In the UK, we have a litigious system of dealing with these types of claims, which in itself can cause further harm to victims.

“I would be keen for the UK to replicate these US schemes to offer recourse without putting people through the extreme distress of pursuing a claim through the courts.”

She added: “I am working with the victims’ fund to ensure that the confidentiality of the UK victims that is built into this process is sufficient to protect them.

“This is particularly important given that UK victims of sexual assault are granted automatic anonymity, which is not automatic in the US.”

The programme has been set up to operate independently from the Epstein estate and has been working with lawyers for more than 70 victims.

The deadline for all claims to be filed is March 25 2021.

Maxwell, daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell, has previously denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of sexual misconduct by her former boyfriend Epstein.

Earlier this week, a source close to the Duke of York said he was “bewildered” by claims made by US authorities that he has not offered to co-operate with the Epstein case.

More information on the compensation programme can be found at www.epsteinvcp.com.

PA