Epstein bombarded Bill Gates with calls and contacts to score a meeting with the billionaire a year before his $2 million donation to MIT
Yana Paskova/Getty Images
- Sources with direct knowledge of a 2013 encounter between Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein told CNBC that the tech titan was bombarded with outreach from the late financier's business associates before Gates met with him and other philanthropists.
- The 2013 New York meeting was focused on "growing philanthropy" on a broader scale, and was followed by Gates flying to Palm Beach, where Epstein was convicted in 2008 on two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor, on one of Epstein's private planes.
- A year later, emails obtained by The New Yorker say Gates was "directed by" Epstein to donate $2 million to the MIT Media Lab, where former director Joi Ito had a close, quiet relationship with the convicted sex offender.
- Gates' spokesperson told Business Insider that "although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is categorically false," and denied that Epstein directed "any programmatic or personal grantmaking" from the former richest man in the world.
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Jeffrey Epstein lobbied extremely hard to get a meeting with Bill Gates, and it worked.
Sources with direct knowledge of the lobbying told CNBC that Epstein used his powerful network of business associates to aggressively pursue the Microsoft founder, leading to an early 2013 meeting the two had with a group of other philanthropists in New York. Gates was bombarded by people speaking on Epstein's behalf, CNBC reports.
Some time afterward, Gates used one of Epstein's private planes to fly to Palm Beach, where the financier was convicted of two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor five years earlier. And a year later, emails obtained by The New Yorker show MIT Media Lab directors saying Gates was "directed by" Epstein to donate $2 million to the research lab.
A spokesperson for Gates confirmed to Business Insider that both the tech titan and Epstein were present at a meeting "focused on philanthropy," but that Epstein "never provided services of any type to Bill." The spokesperson also contradicted the emails sent by MIT Media Lab directors, saying "Any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false."
Gates' spokesperson also told CNBC that Epstein was introduced to Gates as someone who wanted to boost philanthropic spending, which was the nature of the meeting the two held with other philanthropists in 2013.
John Lamparski/Getty Images, Associated Press
John Lamparski/Getty Images, Associated Press
In July, Epstein was arrested at the Teterboro airport in New Jersey - the same airport Gates flew out of on the wealthy sex offender's plane, flight records say - on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy. He died by suicide in jail in August, before his trial could begin.
Evidence of the apparent connection between Epstein and Gates mounted in The New Yorker's coverage of former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and Epstein, which included the October 2014 email from Ito stating that Gates' donation was influenced directly by the sex offender. Ito resigned on Saturday after the article's publication.
MIT recorded Gates' donation at the time, but not Epstein's influence, as per the quiet arrangement the lab and Ito had with Epstein. At another point, Epstein emailed Ito saying ""GAtes [sic] would like a write up on our one science program for tues next week." When Ito asked what kind of write-up, Epstein replied, "more specofic [sic] so that he can fund."
The Media Lab was eventually able to secure $7.5 million from Gates and Leon Black, a high-profile investor, seemingly by way of Epstein. Gates' spokesperson denies this narrative.
"Although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is categorically false," the Gates spokesperson told Business Insider. "Epstein never provided tax or estate services to Bill Gates."
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