From Donald Trump to Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak to Tom Barrack, Prince Andrew to Prince Salman: the high flying contacts of Jeffrey Epstein warrant fresh attention as the convicted sex offender looks to face a new reckoning with his victims.
Even as Epstein heads to federal court to face conspiracy and sex trafficking charges, fresh questions are emerging over the 66-year-old’s exact relationship with his rich and powerful contacts and the true source of his wealth.
An address book dubbed the “holy grail” – seized by the FBI in August 2009 from Epstein’s former butler, then published by the news site Gawker in 2015 – contains the names of celebrities to art dealers, princes to politicians. Scores of his underage victims are listed under the category “massage,” their names and numbers redacted by Gawker to protect their identities.
It includes top model scout Jean Luc Brunel, who has been accused of funneling underage girls to Epstein through his agencies Karin and MC2, as well as billionaire Victoria’s Secret owner Leslie Wexner, who in 1995 gave over his Manhattan mansion to Epstein.
It does not include former President Clinton, though his name is listed on the flight logs of Epstein’s private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express.”
With no major financial deals, no university degrees and only one major client known to the public, Epstein’s crafted reputation as a finance guru appears suspect at best, and part of a darker scheme at worst.
While some contacts may have served a limited purpose in Epstein’s privileged ecosystem, cultivated to boost his aura of prestige, the allegations against Epstein suggest that many came to understand they could rely on the jet-setting host as a pimp, and that he could also turn the tables against them.
Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), who alleges she was recruited into working as a sex slave as a minor – picked up from the Trump resort Mar-a-Lago – says she was not only charged with having sex with and recruiting young girls for Epstein, but for other prominent men as well.
In a 2015 sworn affidavit, Giuffre says that “in addition to constantly finding underage girls to satisfy their personal desires,” Epstein and his alleged madame, Ghislaine Maxwell, would recruit girls for their social network.
“Epstein specifically told me that the reason for him doing this was so that they would ‘owe him,’ they would ‘be in his pocket,’ and he would ‘have something on them.’ I understood him to mean that when someone was in his pocket, they owed him favors,” she said.
Giuffre says she was forced to have sex with Epstein’s lawyer, the high-profile Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, on at least six occasions, starting from when she was 16 years old. Dershowitz from that time has angrily rejected the accusations: “She’s still a prostitute,” he told Florida’s Local 10 news, adding that whatever transpired between Giuffre and Epstein was “a separate issue,” which had nothing to do with him.
Thus far, the only prominent personality to fall from grace amid the renewed scandal has been former US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, compelled to resign from his post last week amid a furor over a plea deal he brokered for Epstein as US attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
That decade-old deal saw Epstein convicted at the state level for soliciting “prostitution,” even though his victim was below the age of consent, and also saw him avert hard jail time. In February, a US federal judge ruled the deal invalid as it was granted without knowledge of the victims.
Acosta may not be the last to face consequences. Earlier this month, a US Court of Appeals ruled that certain records in a defamation lawsuit filed by Giuffre against alleged madam Maxwell must be released to the public, threatening to broaden the scope to an elite cohort.
Israel to Saudi Arabia
A raid on Epstein’s Manhattan residence last week revealed not only a massive trove of lewd photos of middle and high-school aged girls, but also a foreign passport with his photo, a false name, and a residence listed in Saudi Arabia.
Epstein’s lawyers have insisted the travel document was necessary as protection against purported hijackers or terrorists. Prosecutors say it proves he is a flight risk. The Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to a query by Asia Times for comment.
While it appears Epstein had no residence in Saudi Arabia, he appears to have cultivated a number of prominent contacts from the oil-rich Gulf state.
Among the numbers in his book is “Saud Prince Solman”. It is likely in reference to the current king, Salman, who at the time of butler’s tenure (2004-5) would have been a prince. Salman’s son, Mohammed bin Salman, would have still been a teenager at the time. The name can be pronounced as it is spelt in the book.
The Aspen phone line of Saudi Prince Bandar – the country’s longtime envoy to Washington whose daughter, Reema bint Bandar, now serves in the role – is listed in Epstein’s little black book, as is the number of Saudi businessman Amr Dabbagh and Saudi-Syrian businessman Wafic Said.
Tom Barrack, the Lebanese-origin real estate investor whose advice Trump has sought when it comes to the Middle East, also makes an appearance.
When it comes to Israel, Epstein’s links are more concrete, namely to Ehud Barak, the former Israeli premier who is now attempting a political comeback. Epstein was a major investor in Carbyne, an Israeli company in which Barak is the controlling shareholder, and the former premier has visited Epstein’s properties on a number of occasions.
On Tuesday, the British tabloid the Daily Mail published photos showing Barak appearing to hid his face in a neck warmer as he entered Epstein’s mansion in January 2016. A number of young women were photographed entering the residence on the same day. Three of the four are named and identified as being above the age of consent.
The scandal is now playing out in Israel, providing fresh ammunition for PM Benjamin Netanyahu to aim at his rival’s flailing bid against him.
Trump & Country
For all the politicians and princes, the standout name in the Epstein address book is none other than the sitting American president.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told a New York Magazine reporter in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
The president has since moved to distance himself from the disgraced investor, telling reporters he was never a fan.
But the Trumps stand out in Epstein’s contact book. While many entries consist of just a single telephone number, the Trump entry contains multiple direct lines for properties from Palm Beach to Mar-a-Lago. Alternative phone numbers for Melania, his houseman, and security are also listed. And there are separate entries for Trump’s first wife Ivana, and his eldest daughter and current White House adviser Ivanka.
Epstein also makes an appearance as a guest of Trump on his jet in a 2000 profile for Maximum Golf magazine, dredged up by The Daily Beast. “You broke the cardinal rule, Jeffrey! Never be late for someone else’s plane,” the now-president says. Epstein arrived with none other than Maxwell at his side, and while it was not included in the article, the reporter told the outlet another guest – who could have been their niece – was in tow.
“The thing is, to hang around those billionaire guys, you either have to be sleeping with them or you’re finding them girls. There’s no in-between,” a professed friend of Maxwell’s told Town and Country in a profile last week.
With the pending release of some 2,000 pages of previously sealed court documents, and the likely exposure of key names from Epstein’s cohort, the elite may finally be hitting turbulence.