Ghislaine Maxwell may be assassinated in jail like loyalist leader Billy Wright, a leading Northern Irish investigative journalist fears.
Disgraced British socialite Maxwell (58) faces being jailed at the same prison where her ex-lover Jeffrey Epstein was found dead from an apparent suicide.
Belfast-born writer Martin Dillon says she may be in danger of being bumped off behind bars to stop her spilling damning information on her network of rich, powerful and famous pals.
Dillon (70) is the author of a series of best-sellers on spy rings and the Troubles, including The Shankill Butchers: A Case Study Of Mass Murder, and The Dirty War, about British intelligence infiltrating the IRA.
He also wrote a book detailing evidence Ghislaine Maxwell's press baron father Robert Maxwell was a Mossad spy, called The Assassination Of Robert Maxwell: Israel's Superspy.
Martin said: "Ghislaine has the potential to bring down some very important figures across the globe, but that kind of leverage is a two-edged sword.
"Some of those people and their associates have the capability to reach into the heart of government.
"While manipulating the US justice system today might not be easy given the notoriety of this case, reaching into the prison system is not beyond their capabilities.
"I am reminded of how Ghislaine's father and Epstein died and so, too, the terrorist leader, Billy Wright.
"If she met an untimely death, one narrative would be that she decided she could not serve a long prison sentence and sought the easy way out like her former lover, Epstein."
LVF chief Billy Wright (37) - nicknamed King Rat - was shot dead in 1997 at the Maze Prison by three INLA members. The official inquiry into the murder found the killing was the result of serious failings by the prison service, not State collusion.
Conspiracy theories also continue to rage over the prison death of Ghislaine's former boyfriend Epstein (66).
The billionaire was found dead in August last year at his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York, where he was meant to be under 24-hour monitoring and given daily psychiatric evaluations.
Many believe he was assassinated to stop him revealing secrets about his network of powerful friends. Ghislaine is accused of assisting Epstein's abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims known to be underage.
After being arrested last week in New Hampshire, she was brought to court and remanded in custody, for transfer to New York.
Many believe Epstein and Maxwell were international spies who took pictures and videos of powerful men and women having sex with underage girls to blackmail them as part of a global "honey-trap" operation.
Dillon said about the spy suspicion about the pair: "One cannot rule out that Epstein and Ghislaine were assets for one, or more than one intelligence agency. Epstein appears to have had a level of immunity throughout part of his life that could only have been conveyed on him by the intelligence world."
The writer added he believes Ghislaine will be being pressed by the FBI to hand over details on any high-powered co-conspirators to reduce the possibility of a long prison term.
He said: "How much time she'll spend behind bars will depend on how cooperative she is willing to be to bring down some high-powered abusers.
"Either way, she faces a tough spell in a US penitentiary. Sacrificing bigger fish is what the Feds will have told her is her best option."
One of Epstein's victims, Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by the financier, alleges Prince Andrew had sex with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17, still a minor under US law. The duke categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.
Former investment banker Laura Goldman, who is a friend of Maxwell, said the British socialite regarded Andrew as a friend and was "never going to say anything" about him to investigators.
Ms Goldman said yesterday she would "have to" go for a plea deal with prosecutors.
Asked if Maxwell would speak about the duke as part of the investigation, she said: "She has always told me she would never, ever say anything about him.
"She felt in the 90s when her father died that Prince Andrew was there for her."