Report: Epstein Tried to Use Bill Gates' Affair as Leverage

Sources say email Epstein sent in 2017 had a threatening undertone
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Report: Epstein Tried to Use Bill Gates' Affair Against Him
Jeffrey Epstein appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla., July 30, 2008.   (Uma Sanghvi/The Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

Bill Gates and Jeffrey Epstein had a number of meetings and dinners together beginning in 2011. A decade later, following the disgraced financier's death, Gates called those meetings a "huge mistake," and said he put an end to them once it became clear that Epstein's claim to be able to raise billions for global health issues "wasn't a real thing." The Wall Street Journal talks to sources who allege that after the men parted ways, Epstein "appeared to threaten" Gates by hinting that he could go public with Gates' relationship with a Russian bridge player.

Sources say both men knew the woman, Mila Antonova. Gates met her first, around 2010; Epstein met her in 2013 and subsequently footed the bill for her to go to software coding school. Though Gates has indicated he was trying to get money from Epstein for charitable causes, the Journal reports by way of sources that Epstein was working to set up a multibillion-dollar charitable fund with JPMorgan Chase and wanted Gates on board. Gates didn't bite, and those sources say Epstein sent Gates an email in 2017 asking that he repay Epstein for the cost of the woman's coding course—an insignificant sum for both men.

The subtext, per sources who say they saw the message, was that Epstein could reveal the alleged affair, which had reportedly long been over, "if Gates didn’t keep up an association between the two men." A rep for Gates offered a comment that seems to lend some credence to the report: "Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates." Antonova offered no comment on Gates—a known bridge player—but the Journal notes that in a 2010 video she discusses losing to him at a bridge tournament. (Read the full Journal article for more details.)

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