The separation of Bill and Melinda Gates was partially motivated by the former’s dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new report.

Dating back to 2013, a source of concern for Melinda Gates, a global champion for women’s causes, was Bill Gates’s frequent meetings with Epstein, people familiar with the matter, including a former employee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the Wall Street Journal. Beginning in 2011, Bill Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions, and once stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse late into the night, more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship told the New York Times.

Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Bill Gates, said the visits were only to discuss philanthropy and that “Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so.”

“Gates recognizes 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,” Arnold added.

When asked in September 2019 about his relationship with Epstein by the Wall Street Journal, Gates said he “met him” but “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”

“I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. … Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about,” he said at the time.

Epstein, who was arrested in July 2019, was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy for allegedly abusing girls as young as 14. He pleaded not guilty to the charges before he was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell that August. The New York City medical examiner determined Epstein’s death to be a suicide.

Epstein’s business associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested last July and charged with transporting a minor for the purpose of criminal sexual activity and conspiring to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. A suspending indictment filed in March of this year added charges of sex trafficking to allegations that Maxwell, 59, recruited underage girls to be abused by Epstein. The trial for Maxwell was postponed until the fall on the grounds that the defense needed more time to prepare.

In addition to the Microsoft co-founder, Epstein has had reported ties to several public figures, including Prince Andrew and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” the couple said last Monday.

Author: Carly Roman, Associate News Editor

Source: Washington Examiner : Gates divorce partially motivated by dealings with Jeffrey Epstein: Report