Ghislaine Maxwell was being “discreetly” tracked by federal law enforcement as they collected the evidence needed to finally bring charges against her, it has been revealed.
Maxwell, the 58-year-old former girlfriend of late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple crimes in relation to the investigation into Epstein’s alleged abuse of minors.
Her whereabouts has been the subject of intense speculation since Epstein’s apparent suicide last year. Media reports have alleged that she was living in Paris, London and Israel.
But the FBI said they had been monitoring her movements as their investigation proceeded, before finally swooping in her latest location in New Hampshire.
“We have been discreetly keeping tabs on Maxwell’s whereabouts as we worked this investigation,” said William Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, at a press conference on Thursday.
“More recently, we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims lived with the trauma inflicted on them years ago.”
He added: “We moved when we were ready and Ms Maxwell was arrested without incident.”
Maxwell’s indictment was signed by acting SDNY US attorney Audrey Strauss, who was elevated to the position just two weeks ago amid a contentious public feud between US Attorney General William Barr and Ms Strauss’ boss, Geoffrey Berman.
Speaking at the same press conference as Mr Sweeney, she said the investigation into Epstein’s alleged abuse was still ongoing, and anyone who had information to come forward.
She added that investigators would like to hear from Prince Andrew, who has been linked to Maxwell and the claims of abuse. One of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that she was forced to have sex with Epstein and Prince Andrew, a claim that both Maxwell and the Duke of York have denied.
"We would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk to us, we would like to have the benefit of his statement," Ms Strauss said.