Billionaires Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein reportedly had a brief history of meetings, according to a new book by Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie Brown.
The former Microsoft CEO joined the disgraced financier at his Manhattan townhouse at least three times in the early 2010s, including one time during which he stayed late into the night, according to an excerpt of Brown's new book, "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story," which will be released on Tuesday.
Epstein was trying to secure a deal with Gates through his charity, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in which Epstein would help the foundation secure funds, claiming he "had connections to trillions of dollars of his clients' money," and reap 0.3% of "whatever money he raised," Brown wrote, citing a 2019 New York Times report.
"Others who worked for Gates’s foundation also visited Epstein’s mansion several times, and Epstein spoke to both Bill and Melinda Gates about a proposed charitable fund that could generate sizable fees for Epstein," Brown wrote. "Epstein hoped to attract donations from some of his wealthy friends as part of the venture, seeded with Gates Foundation funds, that would be used for global health causes."
The financier and billionaire tech entrepreneur reportedly discussed a philanthropic partnership through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan, which, at the time, were creating the Global Health Investment Fund, the Times reported. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment of nearly $50 billion, donates about $5 billion annually to causes around the world.
Gates also flew with Epstein on the financier's private jet in 2013 from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, the new book says. Epstein had a house in Palm Beach that played a large role in his alleged sex-trafficking ring, according to prosecutors. Epstein first pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008 in a case dating back to 2005.
"Philanthropic talks" between the two billionaires went on into 2014 when Gates donated $2 million to MIT's Media Lab "at Epstein's behest," Brown wrote. Soon afterward, Gates cut off ties with Epstein.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Gates told the Times in 2019 that the billionaire "regrets ever meeting with Epstein."
"Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein’s capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued," Arnold told the Times. "Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so. Gates recognizes [sic] that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation."
Gates previously downplayed his ties with Epstein, telling The Wall Street Journal in 2019 that he had met him but "didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him."
Brown notes in her book that the millionaires and billionaires "who helped finance Epstein’s life of sexual violence maintain that they knew nothing about the deviant behavior exhibited by a man with whom they entrusted billions of dollars."
Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors in July of 2019. About a month later, the disgraced financier, who had previously been placed on suicide watch, was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell.
Brown wrote a three-part series on Epstein for the Miami Herald in 2017. Her new book details the arrest of Epstein's mysterious ex-partner, Ghislaine Maxwell.