It has long been known that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly committed suicide while in prison this summer, has circulated among some of the richest and most powerful men in the world.
The 66-year-old counted key figures in the global elite among his friends and associates, including politicians like former President Bill Clinton and current President Donald Trump, U.K. royal Prince Andrew, actor Kevin Spacey, Nobel laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Frank Wilczek, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, billionaire Les Wexner, comedian Woody Allen, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and innumerable other public figures.
However, none had the cachet and wealth of Bill Gates, the famous co-founder of Microsoft, who became close to Epstein even after the disgraced financier plead guilty and was convicted in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostitution.
According to a report from the New York Times, Gates—the world’s second-richest person who has endowed the largest private foundation in the world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—was among those who spent a meaningful amount of time around Epstein while also sending his employees to meet with the pedophile multiple times at his New York mansion.
The revelation sharply contradicts Gates’ previous claims that he didn’t have any “business relationship or friendship” with the late businessman.
Last month, Gates told the Wall Street Journal that while he had “met him,” that was the extent of their relationship. He explained:
“I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.”
However, according to the Times, Gates had in fact met with Epstein “numerous times” including three times at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, according to over a dozen people familiar with their relationship and documents the journalists reviewed.
In an email to his colleagues in 2011, Gates wrote:
“His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.”
According to his spokeswoman, the tech mogul “was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence—and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.”
“It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval,” she added.
She also explained:
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so … Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation.
In 2011, Gates instructed his employees to meet with Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse to discuss fundraising for his charity. At the time, he told Gates’ team that while he have a bad reputation in media reports, his crime – soliciting prostitution from an underage girl—was no worse than “stealing a bagel,” two people said.
The Times also detailed how two of Gates’ inner circle members served as intermediaries between the two billionaires. Melanie Walker, who joined the Gates Foundation as a senior program officer in 2006, met Epstein in 1992 following her graduation at college. She then moved to a building he owned in New York before working for him as a science advisor in 1998 after graduating from medical school.
Gates Foundation science advisor Boris Nikolic—who now runs a venture capital firm that Gates invests in—was the man who introduced Gates to Epstein. Nikolic had been named as a fallback executor to Epstein’s will, which he declined in court proceedings, and has now expressed deep regret for ever meeting the late pedophile.
Gates and Epstein remained in contact for quite some time, with Gates flying on Epstein’s jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida in 2013, according to flight records. Gates’ spokeswoman now claims that he had no idea the jet belonged to Epstein.
And while the two apparently stopped meeting regularly after 2014, the Gates Foundation continued to maintain contact with Epstein through 2017.
In a statement to CNET, the foundation said:
“It’s become clear that Epstein misrepresented the nature of his meetings with Gates while also working to insert himself behind the scenes without Gates’ knowledge.
Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein’s capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued.”