The Duke of York’s former friend Jeffrey Epstein has reached a last-minute settlement in a long-running case in Florida that could have led to allegations relating to the duke being aired in court.

Epstein, 65, a wealthy financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls, struck a controversial plea deal in 2008 under which he served only 13 months in jail, and reached financial settlements with many of his alleged victims.

Last week it emerged that plea deal was negotiated by prosecutor Alex Acosta, who is now Donald Trump’s labour secretary.

Mr Acosta is facing calls to resign from the cabinet over his involvement.

The latest legal case in Florida was a civil one in which Bradley Edwards, a lawyer who represented the alleged victims a decade ago, was accusing Epstein of trying to ruin his reputation.

Had the case gone ahead it would have allowed alleged victims to finally testify in open court.

Those women could have included Virginia Roberts, who in court papers in 2015 claimed she was kept as a "sex slave" by Epstein, and that she had sex with the Duke when she was 17.

In 2015 sources close to the Duke told The Telegraph he categorically denied the accusation, and that he had been a "fool" over his friendship with Epstein.

Two of Epstein’s accusers are still pursuing a separate legal case in which they are trying to have his 2008 plea agreement thrown out.

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