Kokkvold about Mette-Marit's meetings with Epstein: - Hope this case is a lesson
Per Edgar Kokkvold is amazed that Jeffrey Epstein's criminal history apparently went under the radar at the Palace. VG has sent the Royal House a number of questions about Mette-Marit's relationship with Epstein, but they refuse to answer.
- I hope the case is a lesson. First and foremost for those who are tasked to make sure the royals are aware of these kind of things, says Per Edgar Kokkvold, former secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association and former head of the Broadcasting Council, to VG.
When Mette-Marit says she did not know the severity and extent of Jeffrey Epstein's criminal acts, there is reason to believe that she is speaking true, Kokkvold believes.
- But someone should have made sure that she knew what she is saying she didn't know. That those who are tasked with the following failed to convey this to the Crown Princess, is strange, he says, referring to the counselors she has around her.
A Google search away
The meetings between Mette-Marit and Epstein are supposed to have taken place from 2011 to 2013, that is, long after the conviction was published. Political editor at DN, Kjetil B. Alstadheim, thinks that Palace and its advisers should have been better informed.
- One might wonder if they have Google at the Palace. This was at a time when Jeffrey Epstein was convicted and sentenced to a 13-month sentence. This was a Google search away.
He also referred to the BBC interview with British Prince Andrew, who says he went to New York in 2010 to end his friendship with Epstein, when he thought it was inappropriate to have such a connection with a convicted felon. It was the year after this that Mette-Marit, according to the Palce, met Epstein for the first time. Mette-Marit met him several times in the US, also at his home, and once in Oslo, writes Dagens Næringsliv, who first brought up the case.
The Royal House Information Manager, Guri Hofstad Varpe, has informed VG that Epstein has never been to Skaugum. The Crown Princess and Epstein are said to have been introduced by friends abroad, and according to the Palace, several people were present during the meetings.
Verpe informs VG that Epstein has never given money or offered to give money to the two foundations which the Crown Princess works with.
Dagens Næringsliv writes that they sent a number of questions about the relationship between Mette-Marit and Epstein to the Castle on November 22. It wasn't until Monday this week, a week and a half later, that they received a response. Kokkvold refuses to believe that the Crown Princess was unavailable throughout this period.
- They cannot ponder that long as to what to answer in such a case. It must have been possible to respond earlier, he says.
When asked if the public has the right to know about these meetings, Kokkvold answers yes.
- The royals are the most public of all people, so of course they must expect to be asked about this.
Kokkvold says he is pleased that the media has put the spotlight on "those who would like to be among us without facing criticism of any kind".
Varpe tells VG that they have no comment on Kokkvold's statements.
On Monday, VG sent a number of questions to the Castle (see below). Varpe briefly answered one of the questions (see below), but otherwise stated the following: "We have nothing more to add than what we have already said."
Regarding the follow-up questions about why the Palace will not answer, Varpe stated that "we have answered a number of questions from DN. We refer to these answers, which we feel are quite complementary. "
Questions from VG that the Palace has answered
A number of questions have been asked in the past about who paid for the Crown Prince couple's yacht trip in 2015. Can you answer this now? Did this holiday have anything to do with Epstein?
- This had nothing to do with Epstein at all, says Guri Hofstad Varpe, Head of Information at the Royal House.
Questions from VG that the Palace has not answered
Who introduced Jeffrey Epstein and the Crown Princess?
Who else was present when they met?
Did they only meet in a private context?
In the DN case, the Crown Princess says she "should have investigated Epstein's past more closely". Does that mean she was aware of some of his past?
What is common for background checks regarding the Crown Princess' contacts?
Were there routines that could have hindered contact with Jeffrey Epstein?
The palace informs DN that the meetings between the two took place in social contexts. What kind of social contexts?
DN states that they sent you questions about this matter on November 22. Why did you spend a week and a half answering these?
Epstein had several homes, including in New York, Florida and Paris. What is the reason you would not say in which of them Mette-Marit and Epstein met?
What is the reason why Crown Princess Mette-Marit has not spoken about these meetings herself?
Should Mette-Marit on their own initiative have gone out and informed about this?