Melinda Gates met with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alongside her husband, Bill, in New York City and soon after said she was furious at the relationship between the two men, according to people familiar with the situation.
The previously unreported meeting occurred at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion in September 2013, on the same day the couple accepted the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at The Pierre hotel and were photographed alongside then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
The meeting would prove a turning point for Gates’ relationship with Epstein, the people familiar with the matter say, as Melinda told friends after the encounter how uncomfortable she was in the company of the wealthy sex offender and how she wanted nothing to do with him.
Gates’ friendship with Epstein—who for years was accused of molesting scores of underage girls—still haunts Melinda, according to friends of the couple who spoke to The Daily Beast this week in light of the pair’s divorce announcement, which had been weeks in the making.
The Daily Beast has learned that financial and public-relations specialists had been feverishly working on details of the pair’s split for weeks before the couple announced their divorce on Monday.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the two said in a brief statement posted on Twitter. “We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”
A representative for Bill and Melinda Gates did not respond to requests for comment for this report.
The ties between Gates and Epstein ran much deeper than the tech mogul first admitted. As The New York Timesreported, starting in 2011, Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions. This was three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida; by then, accusations that Epstein exploited girls and young women were widely reported in the press.
As the Times reported, two people close to Gates acted as intermediaries between the two: Boris Nikolic, a biotech investor and former adviser to Gates who was mysteriously named a backup executor in Epstein’s last will and testament; and Melanie Walker, who worked at the Gates Foundation and served as a science adviser to Epstein. A person close to Walker told The Daily Beast she did not attend nor help set up any meetings between Gates and Epstein. Nikolic did not return multiple requests for comment.
Soon after Epstein’s arrest in July 2019, Gates became one of many prominent people to face scrutiny over ties to the sex trafficker.
TheNew York Times revealed Gates had met with Epstein at a 2011 get-together at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse that included the financier’s ex-girlfriend Eva Andersson-Dubin and her daughter. (Virginia Giuffre, a survivor of Epstein’s sex ring, has accused Dubin’s hedge-funder husband, Glenn, of abuse—a charge he has strenuously denied.)
Indeed, the Times reported Gates visited Epstein multiple times from 2011 to 2013, and that Epstein had tried pitching a new charitable fund to JPMorgan honchos and to the Gates Foundation. In 2013, Gates also took a ride on Epstein’s private jet (christened by tabloids as the Lolita Express), from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to flight records reviewed by the Times. CNBC also reported that Gates rendezvoused with Epstein in New York in 2013.
When Gates first met Epstein, he was still Microsoft’s chairman and the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $56 billion.
“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates said in September 2019, as media coverage into his connections with Epstein were heating up. “I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or…