Accounting giant KPMG has already cut its ties with the Duke Of York’s business initiative — and more appear set to follow
Fallout from Prince Andrew 's links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has led to multiple businesses and charities pulling their support from the royal's initiatives. The news comes amid Andrew's announcement on Wednesday that he has decided to "step back from public duties for the foreseeable future."
A number of charities, universities and corporate sponsors are reevaluating their ties to the Duke of York, who spoke at length about his friendship with Epstein in a bombshell BBC Newsnight interview that aired on Saturday .
This includes accounting giant KPMG, which decided to pull its support for Andrew's networking initiative [email protected] — an event that provides a platform for budding entrepreneurs to meet seasoned mentors and investment connections — back in September.
Multinational pharmaceutical specialist AstraZeneca is also likely to follow suit by the start of 2020.
"Our three-year partnership with [email protected] is due to expire at the end of this year and is currently being reviewed," the company says in a statement.
Sources within both companies have told PEOPLE that the decision has been largely prompted by Andrew's links to Epstein and the allegations of Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), who alleges she was forced to have sex with the royal three times between 1999 and 2002 in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein. She claims her first experience with Prince Andrew took place when she was 17.
In what could prove to be a key moment, phone network and broadband provider British Telecom (BT) announced that it too would be loosening ties with Andrew on Wednesday, by withdrawing its support for The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). The initiative helps young people develop digital employability skills and was previously seen as "a natural partner" for BT, says a company statement.
In a major indication of just how damaging the BBC interview has been for the royal, BT is reviewing its relationship of the award program "in light of recent developments," but "might be able to work further with them (iDEA), in the event of a change in their patronage," adds the statement — in other words, if Andrew steps down.
Elsewhere, financial services provider Standard Chartered has confirmed to PEOPLE that it will not be renewing its sponsorship of [email protected] when it expires at the end of the year — nor will satellite communication expert's Inmarsat.
City of London giant Barclays Bank also told PEOPLE that it is "concerned about the current situation" and has placed its association with [email protected] "under review."
Meanwhile, professional services firm Aon has also asked for its name to be removed from the [email protected] website, which had apparently been published in error.
"Aon is not a partner to [email protected] and never has been, which is why we asked for our logo to be removed from the website," a statement read.
The ripples of Andrew's association with Epstein are also reaching deep into his wider public role and patronages.
A spokesperson from the educational charity The Outward Bound Trust confirmed to PEOPLE on Thursday that they had "accepted the resignation as Patron of HRH The Duke of York following his announcement yesterday that he will be withdrawing from public duties for the foreseeable future."
"The Board of The Outward Bound Trust thanks HRH The Duke of York for his support over many years."
The loss of Outward Bound Trust will be a particularly bitter blow as Andrew's father, the Duke of Edinburgh , was the patron of the organization for over 65 years and only handed the reins over to his second son in March.
Andrew's eldest daughter, Princess Beatrice , was also appointed a member of the Trust's board at the same time — although she will not be present at the board meeting.
In a similar vein, Andrew is also on the verge of losing his patronage of outdoor education provider The Jubilee Sailing Trust, who will be discussing "his role as its patron at its December board meeting," the Trust confirmed in an e-mailed statement. The Times in London also reports that the British Exploring Society is holding a special board meeting later this week "to discuss the situation."
Other organizations confirmed by PEOPLE to either be monitoring or reviewing their links to Prince Andrew include children's charities Power 2 and The Golf Foundation, and The London Metropolitan University, who will discuss Andrew's position at their next Board of Governors meeting on November 26.
"The University opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the University's values," says a statement.
In a further twist, students at the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire voted for the duke to be sacked from his post of Chancellor on Monday evening. The royal has held the title since 2015 and has ties to the university stretching back to 2001.
"Every term they have a student jury that sits and people are allowed to put ideas forward for it," a source tells PEOPLE.
"Somebody thought that there were sufficient grounds to have him removed and proposed the motion. It was prompted by the original allegations surrounding Epstein and passed."
The source, who stressed that the meeting was scheduled long in advance of Andrew's BBC interview, adds, "Now we're in an unprecedented situation and nobody really knows what to do."
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