Bill Gates, co-founder and a long-time head of Microsoft, first met with Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, despite Epstein’s 2008 prison time for soliciting child prostitution, and kept conducting business talks with him for years, a New York Times report reveals.
“I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates told The Wall Street Journal in September. The report cites “more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents.”
The remark turns out to be debatable, at least, if the Times report is to be believed. The report says Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions, with at least three meetings at Epstein’s Manhattan residence. Not only that, but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation negotiated the creation of a vast charity fund with Epstein and JPMorgan Chase.
In 2011, Gates reportedly emailed colleagues that “[Epstein’s] lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.” According to Gates’s spokeswoman Bridgitt Arnold, the comment “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 said.
The first meeting between the two was orchestrated by Melanie Walker – a ‘science adviser’ to Epstein since 1998 and a senior officer of the Gates foundation since 2006 – and Boris Nikolic, the foundation’s science adviser and a member of Gates’ inner circle. During that initial meeting, which lasted several hours, the two were joined by Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden and a former Epstein date alongside her 15-year old daughter.
“Bill’s great,” Epstein emailed to his friends, according to The Times. “A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late.”
Around that time, the report says, the Gates Foundation conducted negotiations with JPMorgan on the creation of the Global Health Investment Fund. James E. Staley, a senior JPMorgan executive, introduced Epstein, an important customer, into the discussions. Epstein offered a much bigger foundation and vowed to attract donations from wealthy friends “and, hopefully, from JPMorgan’s richest clients,” according to the Times.
There was a caveat, though, as Epstein reportedly sought to get his hands on 0.3 percent of all the money raised by the fund. While not sounding like much, on the scale of billions of dollars it would have meant millions for the convicted pedophile.
Arnold claimed Gates and his foundation were unaware of Epstein’s mercantile aspirations.
In early 2012, Gates Foundation staffers began having second thoughts, after Epstein boasted to them at his residence that he had access to “trillions of dollars” of his clients’ money that he could put in a proposed charity fund. The figure sowed seeds of doubt about Epstein’s credibility, the Times says.
The meetings and the negotiations continued well into 2014, though, when the software tycoon apparently came to the conclusion that something was not right and reportedly stopped talking to Epstein. A Times source said Epstein complained about the severed connection. However, some Gates Foundation officials reportedly maintained contact with Epstein until late 2017. The latter allegation was denied by Arnold.
“Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein’s capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued,” she said.
On 10 August, Epstein hanged himself in a jail cell where he was awaiting a court hearing on sex trafficking charges. During his life, Epstein boasted about his connections to numerous rich and powerful people across the world, and openly saying he had “dirt” on many of them, which sparked conspiracy theories regarding his death. A subsequent autopsy determined his death was suicide by hanging.