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Key to Epstein's Fortune: One Unusual Arrangement

Retail mogul Leslie Wexner gave Epstein virtually complete control over his financial life
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2019 12:55 PM CDT
This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein.   (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP)
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(Newser) – Little new has emerged about Jeffrey Epstein since Thursday's reports that he was found injured in his jail cell. Epstein reportedly had bruises on his neck, but as the AP notes, it remains unclear whether they were self-inflicted or caused by an attacker. According to the US Bureau of Prisons, the 66-year-old received treatment and remains in the custody of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Jail records say nothing of a trip to the hospital. In the meantime, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are out with detailed stories of how Epstein—who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls—made his fortune. Coverage:

  • Key figure: In both stories, retail mogul Leslie Wexner (The Limited, Victoria's Secret, L Brands, etc.) factors prominently. The Journal estimates Epstein made $200 million from Wexner alone, after Wexner gave him unprecedented control—including power of attorney—over the management of his finances, charities, and even personal life (as in, drafting a prenup). The Times uses the word "mystery" in assessing why Wexner, then "in the prime of his career," gave up so much control to "an outsider with a thin résumé and scant financial experience."
  • And more: The association with Wexner gave Epstein credibility to craft similar arrangements with other uber-rich clients, including financier Leon Black, Johnson & Johnson heiress Elizabeth Johnson, and hedge-fund operator Glenn Dubin. As the Journal explains, "he became deeply entwined in the financial lives of his clients, who put him in charge of their charities, placed his name on deeds for their properties and let him control their savings." But as the Times notes, Epstein also used his connections to Wexner to gain close access to aspiring young models and actresses.

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