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Duchess of York apologizes for taking loans from US pedophile

Britain's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson arrives at the third annual Quill Awards, honoring books and authors on Oct. 2007, in New York. AP Photo/Stuart Ramson

(CBS/AP) Britain's royal family has yet another distraction to worry about as they plan a royal wedding.

Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew's ex-wife,  has confirmed that she received financial help from a convicted American sex offender to pay off her debts, confessing that she knew nothing about his background and promising to return the money.

PICTURES: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
PICTURES: The British Royals
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Andrew, the queen's second son and Prince William's uncle, has faced various troubles of his own in the past, including being photographed with a teenage prostitute. The British media also revealed his close ties with U.S. pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and one of Libyan leader's son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi.

In an interview published by newspaper Evening Standard on Monday, March 7, Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, vowed to return the  $24,000 to billionaire businessman Epstein, apologizing for her "gigantic error of judgment."

"I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me," she apologetically declared in the interview.

She initially reached out for financial help to settle a debt to her formal personal assistant, Johnny O'Sullivan. According to the Evening Standard, she owed O'Sullivan 78,000 pounds for unpaid wages and other bills.

"I am just so contrite I cannot say. Whenever I can I will repay the money and will have nothing ever to do with Jeffrey Epstein ever again," she said in the interview.

Ferguson claims that she was not directly involved in the transaction which allegedly took place in Andrew's office.

Later in the interview, she defended her former husband, stating, ""He is a first-rate father; he's a first-rate man, the finest that I know. I will not have his name tarnished by me yet again. Look at all that he has done for the country. He works tirelessly."

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