In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, American businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates addressed his connections to convicted sex offender and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. According to Gates, he met Epstein through meetings but didn’t have any substantive relationship with him or attend his parties. Gates also claims that their interactions only occurred because Epstein knows “a lot of rich people.”
“I met him,” Gates said in the interview, per The Verge. “I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.”
Gates reportedly met with Epstein for the first time in 2013, which is after Epstein spent 13 months in jail for a 2008 conviction for soliciting and procuring an underage prostitute. News of Gates’ meetings with Epstein raised questions as to why the Microsoft founder would do so in light of Epstein’s past.
According to a source, Epstein worked hard to foster a relationship with Gates. However, as reported by the Business Insider, a spokesperson for Gates claimed that these efforts were in vain.
“Although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is categorically false. Epstein never provided tax or estate services to Bill Gates.”
Um, so here’s a question.
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) September 7, 2019
Per The Inquisitr, Epstein’s ties and funding have caused controversy for MIT Media Lab after it was revealed that Joichi Ito — who recently stepped down as director and professor at MIT — took $525,000 for the lab even with the knowledge of Epstein’s past. Ito also received $1.2 million for his personal investment funds.
Moreover, Ronan Farrow’s The New Yorker report revealed that Ito and MIT Media Lab’s head of development, Peter Cohen, were both aware of Epstein’s criminal past and worked to keep his involvement in the lab’s contributions private. For Signe Swenson, a former development associate and alumni coordinator at the lab, Ito and Cohen’s actions were alarming and led to her resignation in 2016.
Swenson claims that Ito and Cohen made it clear that Epstein’s donations should be kept under wraps. During a breakfast with Cohen, he revealed the lab was looking to build its relationship with Epstein. Cohen reportedly said Ito was working with Epstein and that the financier was helping connect them “to other people.”