Jeffrey Epstein

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Portrait photo, head slightly tilted, unfriendly/unpleasant facial expression, fair and wrinkled skin, grey-black hair, ears set tight, white top, gray background
Mug shot of Jeffrey Epstein (2006)

Jeffrey Edward Epstein ( January 20, 1953August 10, 2019 ) was an American investment banker and convicted sex offender . In 2019, he was charged with running a child sexual exploitation ring . He died in custody while preparing for the trial; according to the autopsy report by suicide . The circumstances of death triggered a judicial scandal, followed by speculation about possible third-party negligence (" Epstein didn't kill himself ").


early life

black and white photo (head up to around belly button), suit and tie, full curly hair, sitting on couch, arm over armrest
Jeffrey Epstein (1980)
four-storey corner building of old architecture, at multi-lane traffic light crossing, high-rise buildings directly behind
"Villard Houses" on Manhattan 's Madison Avenue , from where Epstein operated his businesses for many years

Born on January 20, 1953 in New York City, Jeffrey Epstein grew up in Sea Gate, a gated community on the western edge of Coney Island in Brooklyn , to a Jewish family . He attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn. Like his brother Mark, Epstein had an early interest in mathematics . From 1969 to 1971, he took courses in physics at Cooper Union College in Manhattan , but did not earn a degree. In 1971 Epstein was enrolled in the Courant Institute for Mathematics at New York University , where he took courses in "Mathematical Physiology of the Heart"; he also did not obtain a degree there.

From 1973 to 1975, Epstein taught mathematics and physics at the Dalton School, an exclusive private school on Manhattan 's Upper East Side . Donald Barr , the director, hired Epstein at age 20, despite his patchy academic record. A Wall Street student father was so impressed with him that he referred him to "Ace" Greenberg (1927-2014), who was then a chief executive at investment banking and brokerage agency Bear Stearns , one of Wall Street's largest banks.

Wall Street debut

very bright four-story terraced house covered by trees in front, modern cars in front
Epstein's city mansion, the "Herbert N. Straus House" in Manhattan 's Upper East Side

In 1976, Epstein joined Bear Stearns as a junior assistant floor trader at the American Stock Exchange and rose rapidly under his tutors Greenberg and James E. Cayne. Greenberg was looking at this time for Bear Stearns preferred employees, which he called PSDs: Poor (Poor) - Smart (Smart) - Desire to become rich (Desire to become rich), and who lacked the degrees to do so. This is when options trading began . To trade options, you had to value them. This required mastering mathematical concepts such as the Black-Scholes model . Bear Stearns' Jimmy Cayne said of Epstein: "Because of his background in mathematics, we placed him in our specialty products division where he would advise our wealthier clients on the tax implications of their portfolios. He should recommend certain tax-advantageous transactions. He's a very smart guy and has also become a very important customer for the company.” He was a Limited Partner at Bear Stearns in 1980 but left the firm a year later in unclear circumstances. That same year, Epstein formed his own company, Intercontinental Assets Group Inc. , incorporated in New York, to assist clients in pursuing recovery claims against fraudulent brokers and attorneys.

Tower Financial Corp

In 1987, Steven Hoffenberg hired Epstein as a consultant for Towers Financial Corporation in offices at the Villard Houses in Manhattan, paying him $25,000 a  month .

In 1993, Towers Financial Corporation imploded as one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history, with investors losing over $450 million.

According to Hoffenberg, Epstein was closely involved in the system. However, he was never charged with involvement in the massive fraud and had left the company before the collapse. Whether he siphoned off funds from the Towers Ponzi scheme is unknown.

wealth manager

In 1982, Epstein founded a New York-based wealth management company, J. Epstein & Co. , which it says specializes in investing for billionaires .

The terms of J. Epstein & Co. were high: he demanded comprehensive power of attorney and thus assumed complete control of client assets. According to his own statements, as an "architect" he combined the roles of a real estate agent, accountant, lawyer, money manager, trustee and confidant in order to redesign the restructuring of the chaotically grown wealth structures of his individual or family customers. He charged an annual flat fee for this. Based on the conservative assumption that Epstein charged a 0.5% fee, he would have earned a $75 million annual management fee on the alleged $15 billion in client funds under management.

In 1986, Epstein met billionaire Leslie Wexner of Columbus , Ohio. Both were introduced to each other by risk manager Robert Meister, vice chairman of Aon . Wexner's group includes L Brands (formerly The Limited, Inc.) and several apparel companies, including lingerie brand Victoria's Secret .

In 1987 he converted J. Epstein & Co. incorporated into the Financial Trust Co. organized under the laws of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and moved its headquarters there.

In 1991 and for the next 16 years, Wexner gave Epstein extensive powers over his finances, philanthropy and personal life. Wexner authorized him to borrow money, sign his tax returns, hire employees, and make acquisitions on his behalf.

In 1992, Epstein was appointed to the board of directors of the Wexner Foundation.

In 1996, Wexner gave him his $77 million townhouse—a seven-story, 5,000-square-foot building—for free. So far, Wexner has been Epstein's only verifiable client.

In 2004, Epstein's Financial Trust Co. reported net worth of $563 million with net income of $108 million.

In 2006, Epstein's Trust generated $66 million in fee income. The same year he was indicted in Florida, he transferred $117 million from Finanz Trust Co. to a subsidiary.

In 2007, the year Wexner says he stopped using Epstein's services, Epstein's trust generated $4 million in fee income.

From 2008 to 2011, the trust's annual fee income dropped to $100,000.

In 2012, the trust no longer reported any income. He filed a declaratory judgment with the US Virgin Islands Economic Development Agency that the Financial Trust Co. no longer manages money, although it still maintains a "financial arm." As a result of this move, the trust was no longer subject to the Dodd-Frank Act passed under Obama in 2010 , according to which asset managers of "investment funds not approved for public sale in the USA" are placed under the supervision of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) .


In 2004, Epstein founded the model agency MC2 with Jean-Luc Brunel with an investment of one million US dollars and provided Brunel and agency models with apartments in Manhattan. Maritza Vasquez, the former accountant for MC2 management, told the Miami Herald that the agency would place women in Miami and New York who weren't actually models, but instead taken to parties at Epstein's mansions in Palm Beach and New York became.

In 2012, Epstein founded Southern Trust Co. in the US Virgin Islands. The company consisted of a handful of employees tasked with developing a DNA data-mining service to measure potential customers' predisposition to cancer using mathematical algorithms. As a result, the company also benefited from an effective tax rate of 3.9% granted to companies that agree to invest in an industry that enhances the "welfare" of the Virgin Islands.

In 2013, Southern Trust Co. reported revenues of $51 million. In the same year, the Trust became the owner of the subsidiary that received a $117 million cash transfer in 2006 from Epstein's Finance Trust & Co. had received.

In 2015, Epstein formed a multi-million dollar partnership with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and invested in the startup Reporty Homeland Security (renamed Carbyne in 2018). The Wexner Foundation , a philanthropic organization run by Epstein , had previously given Barak $2.3 million in 2004. The company is linked to Israel 's defense industry and is headed by Barak, who was Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Epstein and Barak were close, and Epstein frequently gave him lodgings in one of his Manhattan apartments.

In 2017, Epstein's Southern Trust Co. reported $391 million in assets and $175 million in retained earnings available for reinvestment. As of 2019, six years after its inception, Southern Trust Co. has reported earnings of approximately $300 million.

bank operator

In 2013, Epstein, through his longtime US Virgin Islands (USVI) tax attorney Erika A. Keller, filed a banking license application for Southern Country International (not to be confused with Epstein's Southern Trust Co.) . This year, the USVI, based on decades of practice in Puerto Rico, passed a law on banking companies in order to attract overseas investors with more favorable tax treatment. As a result of the legislation, Southern Country International lacked many of the prudential requirements that banks are normally subject to. Epstein cited James E. Staley, the managing director of Barclays, and Andrew Farkas, a New York real estate agent , as references in the application . Both men denied knowing about it.

In 2014 he was licensed to operate Southern Country International as one of the first international banking companies of the USVI, a specialist bank dealing only with offshore clients. The license has been renewed for each of the next five years. Apparently, Epstein's bank did not do any marketing or hire a lot of staff.

In 2018, Epstein's tax attorney told the USVI's banking arm that Southern Country International had gone out of business. As a result, Epstein's bank did not require additional oversight either, according to the USVI regulator.

As of August 10, 2019, the anniversary of Epstein's death, Southern Country International 's net worth was $693,157, according to probate documents. In mid-December 2019, Epstein's executors erroneously transferred $15.5 million there, of which $2.6 million was transferred back. Two weeks later, Southern Country International 's assets were down to $499,759; it is unclear what happened to the remaining money. The banking license was not extended beyond 2019, according to the estate administrators.

friends in higher positions

Epstein's influential friends included Britain 's Prince Andrew , Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud , and former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump . The latter wants to have broken with Epstein years ago and banned him from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Before the 2016 US election , Trump was accused under oath of raping a 13-year-old girl at Epstein's New York townhouse in 1994. A corresponding lawsuit was withdrawn shortly thereafter, however, because the person concerned had been threatened. Clinton released a statement in July 2019 saying he was unaware of the sex crimes and hadn't spoken to Epstein in over a decade. According to flight logs, Clinton has been on 26 trips to international destinations aboard Epstein's Boeing 727 . Other Epstein acquaintances have included Tom Barrack , George Stephanopoulos , Katie Couric , Woody Allen , Harvey Weinstein , Rupert Murdoch , Michael Bloomberg , Richard Branson , Michael Jackson , Alec Baldwin , the Kennedys , former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair . He is also said to have been in contact with Microsoft founder Bill Gates .


In the 1980s, Epstein met Eva Andersson , a Swede in New York, a trainee doctor who had worked as a model for Ford Models and had become Miss Sweden in 1980 . After eleven years together, the couple separated. Andersson married American billionaire Glenn Russell Dubin , while Epstein began dating British-French heiress Ghislaine Maxwell . However, Eva Andersson-Dubin continued to belong to Epstein's circle of friends and often attended his meetings with celebrities, including in 2011 when she and her daughter spent an evening with Bill Gates at Epstein's. Glenn Russell is also counted among Epstein's circle of acquaintances and, according to victims, is said to be involved in scandals. For a time, Epstein is said to have planned to transfer his assets to Eva and Glenn's daughter through a sham marriage.


Epstein has served on the Trilateral Commission , the Council on Foreign Relations , and the Institute of International Education. Beginning in 2000, he ran the tax-deferred Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation , which donated millions of dollars to the private Harvard University in 2003 .

Early sex offenses

In the summer of 1996, Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly molested sisters Maria and Annie Farmer (then aged 15 ) . Even then, the victims reported the incidents to the police and the FBI and tried to persuade them to investigate Epstein and Maxwell. The sisters were unsuccessful.

In May 1997, actress Alicia Arden reported Epstein after he posed as a Victoria's Secret recruiter and sexually approached her. She was also unsuccessful and the police did not pursue her complaint.

Charge and conviction as a sex offender

In March 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl in Florida filed a complaint alleging Epstein sexually abused her at his Palm Beach mansion. This led to an investigation lasting around thirteen months, during which more than 50 alleged victims contacted the police. A search of Epstein's mansion uncovered numerous photographs of underage girls. In August 2006, he had to answer before a grand jury in Palm Beach County in just one case - allegedly forcing a minor into prostitution ; he pleaded not guilty. The FBI had already been called in a month earlier and started investigating Epstein; the results were recorded in a 53-page report.

In order to avoid a federal court case for sexual violence against minors and a possible life sentence , Epstein offered the Miami prosecutor's office, led by US Attorney Alexander Acosta , an out-of-court settlement, which prosecutors agreed to. Epstein had to plead guilty to one count of forced prostitution of a minor, even though the minor was legally raped . The settlement with Acosta cleared the federal sex trafficking charges. The agreement also ended the FBI investigation, which might have uncovered more victims. Epstein received an 18-month prison sentence under mild conditions: He had up to 12 hours a day off to go to his office. After just 13 months he was released from prison for good behavior.

After his release from prison, Epstein was again targeted by the judiciary and the police for similar offenses. Unofficially, his private jet was referred to as The Lolita Express and his private island of Little Saint James in the Caribbean as Orgy Island . Some recipients of his donations, including the Palm Beach Police Department, returned the funds.

video recordings

Epstein installed hidden cameras in numerous locations on his properties and homes, allegedly to record celebrity sexual activity with underage girls for blackmail and an insurance policy. When police searched his Palm Beach residence in 2006, two hidden cameras , dubbed tiny pinhole cameras , according to CBS, were discovered at his home . It was also reported that Epstein's New York mansion was extensively wired with a CCTV system. Artist Maria Farmer , who knew Epstein, described a media room with people monitoring cameras throughout the house. The media room was accessible through a hidden door.

Arrested again and died in custody

On July 6, 2019, while returning to the United States from a trip to Paris on his private jet, Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport and taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan . The New York prosecutor's office had brought new allegations against Epstein, also based on revelations in the Miami Herald . According to the indictment, he is said to have operated a ring for the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. According to this, together with Ghislaine Maxwell, he is said to have sexually abused hundreds of underage girls and lured them into prostitution and trafficked in human beings for sexual exploitation . The start of the process was set for early June 2020. On July 12, 2019, Secretary of Labor Acosta announced his resignation over his role in the 2007 deal .

On August 10, 2019, Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell; his death was declared in the hospital. As early as July 23, 2019, he was found unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck, so he was under constant observation and was initially not allowed to be left alone. However, this condition was lifted at the request of his lawyers. On August 9, 2019, Epstein's cellmate was moved, leaving him alone in his cell.

Epstein's death sparked a judicial scandal. The FBI began investigating the circumstances of his death. Attorney General William Barr spoke of an "apparent suicide " and admitted "serious irregularities" in Epstein's surveillance. He initiated internal investigations in the ministry. As a result, two prison guards who slept during their watch and then falsified their reports to cover up their omissions were suspended, and the director of the detention center was temporarily transferred. After reviewing the results of the investigation, the New York coroner Barbara Sampson announced suicide by hanging as the official autopsy result . Epstein's attorneys have criticized this conclusion, and pathologist Michael Baden , the former chief medical examiner for the city of New York, hired by Epstein's brother Mark, said in a report that Epstein's injuries, such as a broken hyoid bone , suggested strangulation by others rather than suicide. Sampson sharply disagreed with Baden. It has been pointed out that fractured hyoid bones associated with suicide by hanging are not uncommon, particularly in the elderly.

The FBI searched Epstein's estate on his private island of Little Saint James on August 12, 2019 . On August 19, 2019, the New York Post reported that Epstein drafted a will two days before his death, assigning his assets to The 1953 Trust - a method of keeping the identity of the beneficiaries secret. The document put Epstein's net worth at around $578 million. The circumstances of his death prompted conspiracy theories that Epstein did not kill himself .

final resting place

After the autopsy, Epstein's body was given to a person later identified as his brother, Mark. Epstein's remains were interred in an unmarked crypt next to his parents at IJ Morris David Star Cemetery in Palm Beach , Florida. His parents' names were also removed to prevent vandalism.



On the most expensive street in Paris , Avenue Foch , he owned an 800 square meter penthouse in a Belle Époque building right by the Arc de Triomphe ; near Jean-Luc Brunel's model agency and apartment.

Own wealth statement 2008

When Epstein pleaded guilty to recruiting and procuring prostitutes in 2008, his attorneys claimed he was a billionaire worth over $1 billion. However, a number of sources have questioned the extent of Epstein's wealth and status as a billionaire.

portfolio of assets at the time of death

Immediately after Epstein's death, his $577,672,654 portfolio of assets was released in the course of the execution of his will . He was therefore a multi-millionaire , even though he was often referred to as a billionaire in the international media. However, there is speculation that there may be other fortunes that have so far remained undiscovered. In addition, his art, antiques, collectibles, valuables and other personal property have yet to be appraised.

Type of property Asset in US Dollars
cashbox 56,547,773
Fixed Income Investments 14,304,679
shares 112.679.138
aircraft, automobiles and boats 18,551,700
Works of art, antiques, collectibles, valuables and other personal belongings Rating pending
Hedge funds & private equity investments 194.986.301
10,000 shares of Maple Inc., a US Virgin Islands company that owns ownership of its New York townhouse 55,931,000
10,000 shares of Cypress Inc., a US Virgin Islands corporation that owns ownership of its Zorro Ranch in New Mexico 17.246.208
10,000 shares of Laurel Inc., a US Virgin Islands corporation that owns ownership of his Florida mansion 12.380.209
999 shares in SCI JEP, a French company that owns the ownership of his apartment in France 8,672,823
10,000 shares of Poplar Inc., a US Virgin Islands corporation that owns ownership of Great St. James Island 22,498,600
10,000 shares of Nautilus Inc., a US Virgin Islands corporation that owns ownership of Little St. James Island 63.874.223

The 1953 Trust

Epstein signed a will two days before his death. In the event of his death, his assets would be transferred to a trust fund called The 1953 Trust . Thus, they were not given to anyone personally. It is not known for what purposes the fund will use its funds and assets.

The will notes that Epstein's only potential heir is his brother, Mark Epstein. But it goes on to say that Mark only has a claim to his brother's assets if Jeffrey had left no will.

trustee of the fund

The 1953 Trust is led by attorney Darren Indyke and businessman Richard Kahn. A third man, Boris Nikolic, is listed as deputy. The trustees are paid a flat rate of US$250,000 per year for their work plus reasonable expenses associated with the completion of the task.

Fund Reporting

The trustees reported in their first quarterly report filed in Virgin Islands Superior Court that Epstein's estate has increased to approximately $635 million in value as of December 31, 2019 through account liquidations, asset sales (two luxury cars) and restitutions an increase in cash on hand of approximately 1 million US dollars was achieved.

Claims against the Fund

US Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George says Epstein's activities have damaged the Virgin Islands' reputation. In the lawsuit, George is seeking the confiscation of the two islands and the dissolution of numerous shell companies in the Virgin Islands that are said to have served as front companies to handle Epstein's human trafficking. According to the New York Times , this is the first civil lawsuit brought by an agency against Epstein's estate. According to George's indictment, Epstein took girls to the island of Little Saint James by ship or plane and created a database of female movement and availability. The charges brought against him by the US judiciary before Epstein's death - rape and sexual violence against women and underage girls in New York and Florida - had only referred to the period 2002 to 2005. The second lawsuit thus significantly expands the dimension of the crimes accused of Epstein. Epstein and his lawyers had denied the allegations brought up until the accused's death. The new indictment said Epstein raped and held captive dozens of underage girls on his island of Little Saint James.

Numerous private claims for compensation by victims are already pending in court. The January 15, 2020 NYT article puts the number of children and young people abducted and subjected to sexual violence as “hundreds”. The youngest victims are said to have been eleven years old.

In March 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell filed a lawsuit in a U.S. Virgin Islands court seeking reimbursement of ongoing security service costs and court proceedings against the fund, alleging that Epstein had assured her in 2004 that he would always support her financially. Also subject to the lawsuit is a statement by Darren Indyke, one of the trustees of the fund, who reassured her after Epstein's death that she would get the money.

From June 2020 to March 2021, the Epstein Victims' Compensation Program (see below) is accepting claims from former Epstein victims; the financial compensation will be paid out of the trust assets.

In 2020, estate taxes reduced the trust's assets by an additional $190 million to approximately $400 million.

Suspicious financial transactions during lifetime

In mid-2020, Deutsche Bank was fined by the New York State Department of Financial Service in connection with its business relationship with Epstein. The bank, well aware of Epstein's criminal background, failed to identify and prevent "suspicious transactions" and "regular suspicious cash withdrawals" in this regard.

In October 2020, The New York Times reported that Leon Black , chairman of Apollo Global Management , wired at least $50 million to Epstein between 2012 and 2017. Some transfers were so unusual that they were checked by the financial crimes unit of Deutsche Bank, Epstein's house bank at the time. The specifics of the services provided by Epstein are unclear. While admitting to paying Epstein millions annually, Black stressed that no one, including The New York Times , alleges he engaged in any wrongdoing or improper conduct. Apollo hired the law firm Dechert to conduct an investigation into Black and Epstein's relationship.

Establishment and work of the Victim Compensation Fund

The Epstein Victims' Compensation Program was designed by recognized claims management professionals with the involvement of victims' attorneys, the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands, Epstein's estate administrators and other interested parties. As of June 25, 2020, the Epstein Victim Compensation Program has been accepting claims related to Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse of victims. Claims for compensation had to be registered there by February 8, 2021 and submitted in writing by March 25, 2021 at the latest. In early February 2021, the payment of claims to Epstein's victims was suspended due to a lack of funds. By then, according to the company, more than 150 applications had been received and more than $50 million had been paid out to those affected. In March 2021, Epstein's New York home sold for $51 million. The money is used to pay out claims.

The claims settlement procedure should enable an efficient and fair resolution of claims. Only if the individual is satisfied with the compensation offered will they agree to waive their right to sue the Epstein Estate and related entities, as well as individuals. The protection of the privacy of the applicant is guaranteed. Epstein's executors will pay all legitimate claims based on the decision of the Epstein Victims' Compensation Program officials .

Proceedings against potential accomplices and beneficiaries

On July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire . According to prosecutors, she is accused, among other things, of inciting underage girls to travel for Epstein for illegal sexual acts and transporting them with the intention of criminal sexual acts. She was found guilty of five of six counts on December 29, 2021.

On December 16, 2020, Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested in Paris. He is accused of rape and trafficking in underage girls. According to Paris prosecutors, the arrest was part of an investigation launched on August 23, 2019, focusing on possible "sexual incidents believed to have been committed by Jeffrey Epstein and other accomplices." Brunel founded the modeling agency MC2 Model Management with financial support from Epstein.

In 2019, Prince Andrew was unsuccessfully asked by New York prosecutors to cooperate in solving the Epstein abuse scandal. He denied allegations that he had sex with an underage woman provided by Epstein, Virginia Roberts Giuffre , in 2001.



film documentation

  • 2020: Netflix : Jeffrey Epstein : Filthy Rich
  • 2020: Bungalow Media + Entertainment: Surviving Jeffrey Epstein


  • 2020: Epstein Island . Music video by German rapper DCVDNS criticizing the way it deals with systematic abuse

web links

Commons : Jeffrey Epstein  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


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