The Department of Justice bypassed Buckingham Palace by filing a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) request to the UK Home Office to force the disgraced royal to testify, according to The Sun.
The MLA allows cooperation between the US and the UK when evidence needs to be gathered in a prosecution or investigation of criminal offenses.
If approved by the British government, the FBI could ask the Duke of York, 60, to be compelled to give evidence under oath as a witness if he refused to cooperate.
Unlike his mother Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew does not have sovereign immunity from prosecution. If he is forced to testify he might still be able to do it from behind closed doors, the report said.
“It’s a huge statement of intent from the US and it moves Andrew into the realms of a criminal investigation. It’s also frankly a diplomatic nightmare,” a source told The Sun.
“The DOJ does not make a request of this nature lightly, especially one involving a senior member of the British royal family. It puts the UK government in a very difficult position – and the Duke of York even more so.”
Prince Andrew has resisted all previous attempts by US authorities seeking to have him shed light on Epstein’s sex trafficking network.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Epstein, has long claimed that the financier forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew three times, starting when she was 17 in 2001.
Prince Andrew has vehemently denied her claims.
The Duke of York was booted from royal duties six months ago after trying to justify his friendship with the dead billionaire Epstein in a train-wreck BBC interview.