Ghislaine Maxwell offers to renounce British citizenship in third bail appeal

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Josie Ensor
·3 min read
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Maxwell on Tuesday offered to renounce her British citizenship and put her assets into a monitored bank account
Maxwell on Tuesday offered to renounce her British citizenship and put her assets into a monitored bank account

Ghislaine Maxwell on Tuesday offered to renounce her British citizenship and put her assets into a monitored bank account, as she appealed to a New York judge for bail for a third time.

Ms Maxwell, who is currently in a prison awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking, made a desperate new offer to surrender both her British and French passports - leaving her with just her American citizenship - in an attempt to prove she was not be a flight risk.

The 59-year-old French-born socialite moved to England as a child with her father, British press baron Robert Maxwell, and grew up in Oxford. She has denied all charges against her.

"Ms Maxwell will renounce her French and British citizenship to eliminate any opportunity for her to seek refuge in those countries, if the Court so requires," said Bobbi Sternheim, her attorney said in a new appeal filed on Tuesday.

Ghislaine Maxwell is pictured with her husband Scott Borgerson for the first time in a photo from October 2013 - Arctic Circle
Ghislaine Maxwell is pictured with her husband Scott Borgerson for the first time in a photo from October 2013 - Arctic Circle

She claimed the offer “should satisfy any concerns the Court may have that Ms Maxwell may try to seek a safe haven in France or the United Kingdom.

“Ms Maxwell’s decision to give up citizenship from the county of her birth and the country of her upbringing demonstrates her earnestness to abide by the conditions of her release and underscores that she has no intention to flee.”

Her legal team noted that some other high-profile defendants charged with serious sex crimes have been released on bail, citing the case of the French infamous former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

US District Judge Alison Nathan has already rejected two appeals for bail made by Ms Maxwell’s defence team.

Her lawyers previously sought to convince Judge Nathan that Ms Maxwell is not a flight risk, despite her holding three passports.

At an earlier hearing, Ms Maxwell offered to waive her rights to oppose extradition from the UK or France, but did not go so far as to offer to renounce citizenship of either. Her offer was dismissed as "meaningless" by prosecutors in December.

‘The defendant continues to have extensive financial resources and foreign ties," Ms Nathan said in ruling.

Ms Maxwell also offered to place her and her husband Scott Borgerson’s considerable assets in a new account that will be monitored by a retired federal District Court judge and former United States Attorney.

There would be an exception for the money already set aside to pay for her criminal and civil legal case fees, which has previously been disclosed as $7.6 million, and $450,000 in a personal account for her husband's living expenses.

Ms Maxwell, in a filing last week, said she was "withering" in federal prison in Brooklyn from conditions she described as needlessly harsh and from one instance of being "physically abused" during a pat-down by guards.

"To deny Ms Maxwell bail when such extraordinary and restrictive conditions are available would be a miscarriage of justice," Ms Sternheim concluded.