Boris Johnson has put his weight behind the embattled Prince Andrew, saying the royal – currently under fire for his ties to the convicted jewish pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – had contributed a lot to promote British commerce overseas.

“Let me tell you something,” the prime minister told ITV news on Sunday, “I’ve worked with Prince Andrew, I’ve seen the good he has been able to do for UK business overseas.” While giving Prince Andrew some support, Johnson has carefully avoided expanding on the issue.

Andrew, the third child of Elizabeth II, has served as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment and, on top of that, he oversaw a number of trusts in the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas.

Going into damage control, Andrew issued a wordy statement this week, asserting that he first met Epstein in 1999 but didn’t “witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction” during “infrequent”stays at his residences.

Epstein was found dead in his NYC prison cell on August 10, giving birth to conspiracy theories suggesting that he’d been murdered on the orders of his high-profile friends, to prevent him from speaking out. However, a subsequent investigation ruled that he’d taken his own life by using bedsheets to make an improvised noose.

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