LONDON — Prince Andrew's ex-wife has confirmed receiving financial help from a convicted U.S. sex offender, but says she had known nothing about his background and is vowing to return the money.

Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, said in an interview published Monday in the Evening Standard newspaper that she would repay the 15,000 pounds ($24,500) advanced by billionaire businessman Jeffrey Epstein to settle a debt to her former personal assistant, Johnny O'Sullivan.

The duchess is quoted as saying "I am just so contrite I cannot say."

She says the payment was handled through Andrew's office, the duchess said, and she wasn't directly involved.