10:37 GMT25 July 2021
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    New York Times bestselling author Vicky Ward, host and producer of “Chasing Ghislaine,” which is coming out on 15 July as an Audible Original podcast, was assigned a story in 2002: to probe where tycoon Jeffrey Epstein’s money came from, leading her on a quest into the bowels of his empire.

    Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein had tried tactics ranging from charm offensive to outright bullying against New York Times bestselling author Vicky Ward when she was assigned to write a story about him by Vanity Fair in 2002.

    According to the investigative journalist, who is the host and producer of “Chasing Ghislaine”, coming out on 15 July as an Audible Original podcast and as a Discovery+ show slated for later in 2021, her article was on Epstein's money.

    'Сontrol Freak’

    The now-deceased tycoon had amassed a wealth that no one knew the source of.

    The intriguing American financier who purportedly rubbed shoulders with the glitterati of the silver screen, presidents and billionaires immediately “creeped out” the British-born Ward. The woman claims that throughout the numerous phone calls they exchanged to arrange the off-the-record interview she glimpsed a “mercurial control freak”.

    For example, he would munch his way through all the sandwiches laid out for his 'tea', one by one, without offering the pregnant journalist anything. She also describes how he deliberately left out on his desk a copy of a lurid book by notorious French writer the Marquis de Sade for her to notice.

    After they had spoken, his assistant phoned Ward to tell her that Epstein had thought she was “pretty”.

    As the journalist had mentioned to Epstein in passing that she hadn't studied maths since age 14, he had a messenger deliver a book to her home address: 'Maths For Dummies'.

    This photo shows the Manhattan residence of Jeffrey Epstein, Monday July 8, 2019, in New York
    © AP Photo / Bebeto Matthews
    This photo shows the Manhattan residence of Jeffrey Epstein, Monday July 8, 2019, in New York

    Vicky Ward says the crass flattery left her with a sense of unease, especially since she had not given the financier her home address. Epstein then proceeded to bombard her with phone calls on a daily basis for months that ranged from “smarmy” to “bullying”.

    According to Ward, she had a gut feeling the man was hiding something. She describes the revolt she felt from his misogynistic jokes, like when he revealed a desire to see his female staff only wearing Prada bikinis in his New York house, even in winter.

    According to the author, Epstein throughout the interview was “fixated” with “the girls”.

    “What about the girls? What have you got on the girls?” he would purportedly ask her.

    She says that she deplores she failed to glean enough information about the alleged victims of his sex trafficking ring and the part that his purported “Madam” Ghislaine Maxwell played.

    FILE PHOTO: Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks alongside William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office, at a news conference announcing charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020
    © REUTERS / Lucas Jackson
    FILE PHOTO: Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks alongside William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office, at a news conference announcing charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein in New York City, New York, U.S., July 2, 2020

    Vicky Ward says that eventually Jeffrey Epstein veered off into direct threats against her, saying he had compiled a dossier on her then-husband and her. While threatening to sue her personally, he even went as far as to claim he could put a 'hex' on her unborn children.

    As the threats had prompted Ward to record her conversations with Epstein, with transcripts running to some 450 pages, she claims to have discovered a host of information casting light on the late felon’s underworld of "international espionage, blackmail, money-laundering and smuggling guns, diamonds and drugs”.

    Prince Andrew is seen with Virginia Roberts during a visit to New York with Andrew's friend and alleged pimp Jeffrey Epstein
    Prince Andrew is seen with Virginia Roberts during a visit to New York with Andrew's friend and alleged "pimp" Jeffrey Epstein

    Claiming that she lost the original recording years ago, the journalist has now produced an audio reenactment of the conversations by actors, which is what her podcast Chasing Ghislaine, offers.

    ​Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in 2019 on charges of organising the sex trafficking of underage girls. While denying all charges and awaiting trial, the tycoon was found dead in his New York federal jail cell in 2019 in circumstances that continue to spark conspiracy theories.

    As for Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged accomplice, she is currently awaiting trial for sex trafficking and recruiting underage girls for sexual services. The woman who denies all charges faces up to 80 years behind bars if found guilty.

    Related:

    Maxwell’s Answers to 'Highly Intrusive Question' About Epstein May Be Used in Court – Ruling
    Epstein-Maxwell Relationship Reportedly Started Years Earlier Than Previously Thought
    Maxwell Lawyers 'Hopeful' Cosby Release Might See Epstein 'Madam's' Sex Trafficking Charges Dropped
    Trump Feared Maxwell's Arrest Might Mire Him in Epstein Scandal, Mulled Pardoning Her, Book Claims
    Tags:
    Jeffrey Epstein, Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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