Microsoft founder Bill Gates reportedly pushed the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, to remake his public image so he could work at Gates’ nonprofit.
Gates would meet with Epstein, who was convicted of soliciting a child for prostitution in 2008, at the latter’s mansion in New York to discuss their private lives as well as potentially working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Daily Beast reports. The meetings were one of the chief reasons why Bill and Melinda Gates chose to get a divorce, which the couple announced earlier this month.
According to the Beast, Gates “encouraged Epstein to rehabilitate his image in the media following his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting a minor for prostitution, and discussed Epstein becoming involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Gates went to Epstein’s New York mansion partly as a reprieve from his strained marriage to Melinda, a source who joined Gates and Epstein at the mansion on several occasions told the Beast.
“[It’s] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” the source said. Epstein and Gates “were very close,” the person said.
A former employee of the Gates Foundation said that Gates met with Epstein to get connected to some of Epstein’s other powerful and elite associates.
“My understanding was he wasn’t hanging out with Epstein to get women,” the employee said.
Gates, through a spokesperson, denied the allegations made by the anonymous source and reported by the Beast.
“Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated. Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false,” a Gates representative told the Beast. “Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein— on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein.”
Gates expressly denied ever talking to Epstein about getting involved with the Microsoft founder’s nonprofit. Gates also disputed the number of times he met with Epstein.
Gates resigned from the company he launched and led for decades on March 13, 2020. He resigned as members of Microsoft’s board reportedly wanted to push him out over an affair he had with a Microsoft employee that began in 2000 and allegedly lasted for years afterward. Microsoft had received a letter from the female employee in 2019 outlining the details of the affair, prompting the company to hire an outside law firm to investigate.
“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” a Gates spokeswoman said. “[Gates’] decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce earlier this month.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement. “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.”
“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 this next phase of our lives,” they added. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
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