- Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein met multiple times since 2011.
- Melinda Gates reportedly said she was uncomfortable with Epstein and his ties to her husband.
- Gates said in 2019 that he met Epstein but did not have “any business relationship or friendship with him.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Melinda and Bill Gates stunned the world last week when they announced they were ending their 27-year marriage.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, the decision wasn’t out of the blue – Melinda Gates began speaking with divorce lawyers in 2019, the same year that the New York Times reported her husband and Jeffrey Epstein had met multiple times.
Here’s how the convicted sex offender and the Microsoft cofounder were connected.
Bill Gates and Epstein reportedly first met in 2011 in New York City
The first meeting came three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from an underage girl and became a registered sex offender, and later spent 13 months in jail.
The pair met to discuss philanthropic ideas at Epstein’s Manhattan residence in 2011 after Epstein aggressively worked to meet the Microsoft co-founder, the New York Times reported in 2019, citing documents and interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship between the two men. According to the Times, Bill Gates stayed late at Epstein’s apartment, and Epstein’s former girlfriend and her 15-year-old daughter were also present.
Bill Gates wrote an email to his colleagues later that year about how Epstein’s “lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” the Times reported. A spokeswoman for Gates told the Times that the email was referring to Epstein’s “unique decor” and spontaneous way of inviting acquaintances to meet his guests.
Sources recently told The Daily Beast that the meeting still haunts Melinda Gates. Bill Gates and Epstein met another time in 2011 and were photographed with a senior JP Morgan executive and the science adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
-The New York Times (@nytimes) October 12, 2019
Gates told The Journal in 2019 that he had met Epstein but said he did not have “any business relationship or friendship with him.” Gates made the comments after his meetings with the convicted sex offender surfaced.
Bill Gates met Epstein again in 2013, this time joined by Melinda Gates
The trio met at Epstein’s New York City mansion. Shortly after, Melinda Gates told her husband that said she was uncomfortable with Epstein and was furious about Bill Gates’s relationship with him, according to the Journal. Despite the warning, Bill Gates and other associates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation maintained ties with Epstein, the Journal reported.
Bill Gates also reportedly flew with Epstein on his private jet, dubbed “Lolita Express,” from New Jersey to Florida in 2013, according to the New York Times. Bill Gates denied to The Journal in 2019 that he went to Florida or to party functions with Epstein.
Bill Gates donated $2 million to MIT’s media lab in 2014, a donation that Epstein reportedly facilitated
Joi Ito, the MIT media lab’s former director, said in an email obtained by The New Yorker that Epstein guided Bill Gates into making a $2 million contribution.
The monetary gift came from bgC3, which has been renamed Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’ venture capital firm, according to Axios.
“This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein,” reads the internal email, per the New Yorker’s report. The lab accepted the donation despite Epstein’s sex offender charges. Ito announced he was resigning the day after The New Yorker story was published.
In a statement to the outlet, a Gates spokesperson said “any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false.”
Epstein later lamented to a friend towards the end of 2014 that Bill Gates had cut off communication with him, a source told the NYT.
Some of Gates’s colleagues also knew Epstein
Some of Bill Gates’s current and former colleagues at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had ties with Epstein.
Melanie Walker, a Gates Foundation employee from 2005 to 2013, knew Epstein since 1992, according to The Daily Beast. She served as his science advisor in 1998.
Walker introduced Epstein to Boris Nikolic, who was the Gates Foundation’s science advisor at the time, The Daily Beast reported. Epstein would later name Nikolic a backup executor of his will, a role he told Bloomberg he was not consulted on and quickly rejected.
Linda Stone, who served as a Microsoft executive from 1993 to 2002, reportedly knew Epstein and introduced him to Ito, the former MIT media lab director.
“He has a tainted past, but Linda assures me that he’s awesome,” Ito said in an internal email, according to The Daily Beast.
Epstein was also reportedly friends with Nathan Myhrvold, the former CTO of Microsoft who spent 14 years at the company, according to Vanity Fair.
A spokesperson for Myhrvold told Vanity Fair at the time, “Nathan has no knowledge of or any involvement in the various crimes that Mr. Epstein is accused of committing. He was never a client of his money management business, and he’s never done business with him of any sort. Back in the day Epstein was a regular at TED conferences and he was a large donor to basic scientific research, so while Nathan knew him and has socialized with him, that’s exactly where their association ends.”
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