Scotland Yard has promised to review allegations that Ghislaine Maxwell was involved in trafficking, grooming and abusing women and girls in the UK.
The British former girlfriend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is in US custody awaiting trial, accused of recruiting three teenage girls for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997.
But, according to a Channel 4 News investigation, there are more than half a dozen claims that young women and girls were trafficked, groomed or abused by the pair in the UK over more than a decade.
Evidence includes victims’ accounts, public documents, witness accounts and interviews, the broadcaster said.
Nazir Afzal, former chief prosecutor for north-west England, told Channel 4 News that, from what he had seen, there is “clearly enough evidence for the police to investigate more thoroughly than they have done up to now”.
He added: “It’s concerning, because we’ve got potentially victims here.
“And maybe other victims or alleged victims who may, if an investigation follows its course, be identified.”
In a statement, the force said: “The MPS is clear that it will investigate allegations where there is sufficient evidence of an offence having taken place, where it is the appropriate authority to do so and where those against whom the allegation are made are alive.
“The MPS stands by the statement by Commander Alex Murray issued at the end of 2019.
“This confirmed that the MPS had received an allegation of non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation against a US national, Jeffrey Epstein, and a British woman in 2015 relating to events outside of the UK and an allegation of trafficking to central London in March 2001.
“Officers assessed the available evidence, interviewed the complainant and obtained early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.
“However, following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK.”
The Met said officers concluded that it was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, it was decided that the case would not proceed to a full criminal investigation.
A review in August 2019 did not change that conclusion.
“The MPS has continued to liaise and offer assistance with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein but is unable to comment on individuals with whom they may or may not have interacted with regard any allegations of crime.
“We will always consider any new information and will review the information sent to us from Channel 4,” the force said.
American financier Epstein killed himself in August 2019 while in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.