Melinda Gates ‘warned Bill about Jeffrey Epstein in 2013’

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<p>The couple announced their divorce earlier this week</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

The couple announced their divorce earlier this week

(AFP via Getty Images)

Melinda Gates reportedly warned Bill Gates to stay away from Jeffrey Epstein after the pair met with the convicted sex offender in New York back in 2013.

The couple, who announced their divorce earlier this week, are reported to have met with Epstein at his Upper East Side mansion in September 2013, according to a report inThe Daily Beast.

Speaking to the outlet in the wake of the divorce news, sources close to the couple said that Ms Gates was “furious” at her husband for meeting with Epstein, and remains “haunted” by the encounter.

The meeting is said to have happened on the same day that the couple accepted the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

Ms Gates told friends that she was uncomfortable in Epstein’s presence and wanted nothing to do with him, the outlet reports. The meeting took place five years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl for sex in Florida in 2008.

The Independent has contacted a representative for Bill and Melinda Gates for comment.

Although the 2013 meeting was previously unreported, Mr Gates was one of many influential people who at some point met with Epstein, who was a notorious social climber and name dropper.

In 2019,The New York Times revealed that Mr Gates had attended a social event at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2011. The newspaper reported that the pair had met multiple times between 2011 and 2013, including during a flight on Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express”, from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida in 2013.

The tech billionaire later distanced himself from Epstein. In 2019, Mr Gates told The Wall Street Journal: “I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”

The New York Times also revealed that Mr Gates wrote an email about Mr Epstein to colleagues in 2011, saying: “His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.”

Mr Gates’ spokesperson, Bridgitt Arnold, told the newspaper that he had been “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.

Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce in identical statements posted to their Twitter accounts on 3 May.

“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the statement read.

“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives.”

Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking, and died in his Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.

In 2020, Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested on sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors allege that she procured teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse. Ms Maxwell, who is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, denies any wrongdoing.

Her trial was postponed this week from July until early fall, though no date has yet been set.

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