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Jeffery Epstein allegedly attempted to blackmail Bill Gates over extramarital affair

According to a recent Wall Street Journal investigation, convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein seemed to threaten Bill Gates and attempted to blackmail the multibillionaire over his affair with a Russian bridge player.

According to sources familiar with the situation, after Epstein discovered Gates’ affair with Russian bridge player Mila Antonova, he threatened Gates into reimbursing him for tuition costs that Epstein had initially covered for Antonova to attend software coding school.

According to the sources, Epstein’s threat to Gates came in the form of an email he wrote in 2017 after failing to persuade Gates to join a multibillion-dollar charity fund he wanted to establish.

Around 2010, when Antonova was still in her 20s, Gates first met her and they later played bridge together. Antonova described a competition she played with Gates in a 2010 YouTube video, adding, “I didn’t beat him but I tried to kick him with my leg,” as stated in the story.

Epstein’s ‘generosity’

According to records obtained by the Journal, Antonova sought to acquire cash to create an online bridge instructional company. According to the story, Antonova was introduced to Epstein by Boris Nikolic, a close Gates aide, to help gather funding for her programme, which intended to promote bridge by giving quality instruction for both beginners and expert players.

According to the Journal, Antonova presented her fundraising suggestions to Epstein during a meeting in New York City in November 2013 and wanted half a million dollars. According to the story, Epstein ultimately did not invest in the endeavour, according to Antonova.

Nonetheless, Antonova went on to live in a New York flat funded by Epstein a year later. “I didn’t interact with him or with anyone else while there,” she stated, according to the article.

“Epstein agreed to pay, and he paid directly to the school,” she said. “Nothing was exchanged. I don’t know why he did that. When I asked, he said something like he was wealthy and wanted to help people when he could.”

At the same time as Antonova was launching her project, Epstein was launching his own fund. According to the article, Epstein intended to establish his philanthropic fund with JP Morgan, which would require ultra-wealthy individuals to make a minimum $100 million commitment and pay him millions of dollars in fees.

Epstein’s prosecution

According to the Journal, Epstein pled guilty to recruiting a child for prostitution in 2008 and was obliged to register as a sex offender. The money was designed to help Epstein rehabilitate his reputation, and Gates’ backing was conditional on that.

Despite not involving the Microsoft co-founder, Epstein attempted to represent himself as Gates’ close advisor in emails addressed to JP Morgan executives.

“In essence, this [fund] will allow Bill to have access to higher quality people, investment, allocation, governance without upsetting either his marriage or the sensitvities [sic] of the current foundation employees,” Epstein wrote in an email in August 2011.

He followed up the next day, writing: “Bill is terribly frustrated. He [would] like to boost some of the things that are working without taking away from thoses [sic] that are not.”

Two months later, Epstein sent another email to JP Morgan executives after the company prepared a presentation on the project, writing, “The presentation, is not tailored to [Bill]. He is the only person, the only one, that counts.”

Speaking to the Journal, a JP Morgan spokesperson said: “The firm didn’t need him for introductions. Knowing what we know today, we wish we had never done business with him.”

Similarly, the Journal reported that a Gates spokesperson “has said Epstein never worked for Gates and misrepresented their ties in communications with JP Morgan and others”.

According to those acquainted with the situation, Epstein emailed Gates about Antonova in 2017, after Gates’ extramarital affair ended. Epstein urged Gates to compensate him for Antonova’s coding school expenses in the email.

“The tone of the message was that Epstein knew about the affair and could expose it, the people said,” the Journal reported, adding that a Gates spokesperson said that the Microsoft founder “had no financial dealings with Epstein”.

Epstein was charged with sex trafficking a juvenile and conspiracy to conduct sex trafficking two years later, in 2019. Epstein disputed the allegations and was denied bail. He died in detention months later in an apparent suicide.

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