Chris Bryant, a senior member of the opposition Labour Party, noted Monday in Parliament that the fourth in line to the throne was a friend of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's favorite son. Andrew has also palled around with convicted gun smuggler Tarek Kaituni and American sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed for 18 months in 2008 for soliciting child prostitution.
Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has paid a number of visits to Libya in his role as trade envoy and spent time with Saif in North . But while most politicians can accept that the Duke of York will inevitably rub shoulders with some dodgy dictators and businessmen on his trips abroad, they're shocked that the 51-year-old prince chose to remain friends with these rogues.
In return for Saif's hospitality, for instance, Andrew hosted the despot's son -- who on Monday appeared on state TV, waving an AK-47 and calling on his father's supporters to fight to "the last bullet" -- at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Andrew also stayed chums with Kaituni, even after the British media revealed in August 2008 that the Libyan-born businessman had been convicted in 2005 of buying a machine gun and secretly attempting to it from Holland to France. The Times of London reported that Kaituni allegedly intended to use the gun to threaten his former fiancee, model Lisa Van Goinga. Three months after those revelations were published, the prince and Kaituni holidayed together in Tunisia.
Andrew has shown similarly poor discretion in his ongoing friendship with convicted pedophile Epstein, critics say. In December, the prince was pictured walking and talking with the multimillionaire in New York's Central Park. And this weekend photos were published in The Daily Mail showing Andrew with his arm around the bare midriff of the then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts, a California native who started working as Epstein's personal "masseuse" when she was just 15.
All of these dangerous liaisons, say Andrew's many detractors, suggest that he is no longer a worthy trade ambassador -- a job that demands a strong sense of judgment and discretion.
Prime Minister Cameron said Monday in Parliament that he wasn't aware of the connections pointed out by opposition politician Bryant, but added, "I'm very happy to look into them."