PRINCE Andrew has hired a leading extradition lawyer to fend off the FBI probe into his links with Jeffrey Epstein.

He has taken on Clare Montgomery, whose previous clients include Shrien Dewani — cleared of murdering his bride on honeymoon in South Africa.

Ms Montgomery, 61, is thought to earn £1,000 an hour.

She is briefed by Gary Bloxsome, who defended Brit troops against war crime claims.

A pal said: “He is as sharp as a blade, absolutely brilliant.”

Mr Bloxsome was also appointed directly by Andrew, 60.

Buckingham Palace has previously refused to reveal who acts for him.

Sources have confirmed the duke has regular meetings with his team about the investigation into associates of Epstein, who killed himself in jail last year.

In January, US prosecutors publicly accused the royal of ignoring attempts to contact him.

New York attorney Geoffrey Berman said the duke had given zero co-operation.

Buckingham Palace will only say it does not represent him as he is no longer a working royal.

As a rule, US prosecutors wanting to speak to a witness in Britain would go through the legal attaché at the US embassy in London.

But sources at the New York prosecutor’s office said they went directly to Andrew’s lawyers.

The duke has said he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations”.

Businessman Dewani, of Bristol, was cleared of organising a hit on bride Anni, 28.

She died after their taxi was hijacked near Cape Town in 2010.

Ms Montgomery represented Dewani at extradition hearings in 2012.

He was eventually sent to trial in South Africa in 2014.

The senior barrister, of Matrix Chambers, co-founded by Tony Blair’s wife Cherie, has also represented ex-Chile dictator Augusto Pinochet and Nirav Modi, wanted for India’s biggest fraud.

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