Billionaire Bill Gates, who has repeatedly minimized his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, visited the convicted sex offender multiple times in the years after Epstein was released from prison, according to a New York Times investigation published Saturday.
Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, and Epstein met repeatedly starting in 2011, including at least three times at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, according a Times report compiled from interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, photographs, emails and other documents.
In one e-mail reviewed by the Times, Gates told colleagues in 2011 following his first meeting with Epstein, “His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.”
A Gates spokeswoman told the Times that the email “was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence,” and his “habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.”
Epstein, who was indicted in July on federal sex trafficking charges and denied bail, committed suicide in August in a federal prison.
In September, Gates admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he did meet with Epstein after the financier pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that,” Gates told the Journal. “There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.
“Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about,” Gates added.
Epstein and Gates first met in person, according to the Times, on Jan. 31, 2011, at Epstein’s Upper East Side townhouse. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden who had once dated Epstein, was also in attendance with her 15-year-old daughter for the gathering, which lasted several hours. (Andersson-Dubin and her husband, Glenn Dubin—a friend and business partner of Epstein’s—declined to comment on the Times story.) Afterwards, Epstein boasted to his friends and associates: “Bill’s great.”
Gates also praised Epstein the next day in an email of his own, according to the report. “A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late,” he told colleagues.
According to the Times, Epstein also spoke with the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan on a possible multibillion-dollar global health charitable fund that would have generated enormous fees for Epstein. The fund never came to fruition and Gates’ representative said the tech titan and the foundation were unaware that Epstein would have received fees from the project.
Bridgitt Arnold, Gates’s spokeswoman, told the New York Times that Gates “regrets” every meeting he had with Epstein.
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” Arnold told the newspaper. “Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation.”
However, Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker investigation found that Epstein “directed” a $2 million donation from Gates to the MIT Media Lab in October 2014 (along with another $5.5 million from investor Leon Black).
Epstein was listed as “disqualified” in MIT’s donor database, the New Yorker revealed, yet the Media Lab continued to take his money, marking the donor as anonymous, and even “consulted him about the use of the funds.”
“Gates would like a write up on our one science program for tues next week,” Epstein allegedly wrote in an email to Joi Ito, the lab’s director.
In an internal email, Ito wrote, “This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein.” Peter Cohen, the lab’s former Director of Development and Strategy, replied, “For gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey’s name as the impetus for this gift.”
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so.”
— Gates spokesperson
CNBC reported that Epstein allegedly scored a meeting with Gates after aggressively lobbying his business allies to put in a good word for him.
According to the report, the Microsoft mogul met with Epstein in New York in 2013 with other wealthy patrons to discuss “growing philanthropy.” After this meeting, Gates reportedly took a ride on Epstein’s plane to meet his family in Florida.
The Times also reported that Epstein and Gates were seen in private conversation at a California TED conference in 2011.
After Gates’ $2 million donation to MIT in October 2014, the Internet billionaire apparently stopped talking to Epstein, a snub the financier complained about to an acquaintance at the end of that year. However, the Times also reported that at least two senior Gates Foundation officials maintained contact with Epstein until late 2017.
And Gates was not Epstein’s only Microsoft connection.
When Epstein’s last will and testament was filed in August—just two days before his jail-cell suicide—the document named Boris Nikolic, a former adviser to Gates and his foundation, as the backup executor to his $577 million estate.
Nikolic, a biotech venture capitalist who worked at Harvard, said he was “shocked” to learn he was listed in the will. “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.
Last month, the New York Post reported Nikolic formally declined taking on the role.
According to the Times, Nikolic was apparently brought into Epstein’s orbit through Melanie Walker, a colleague at the Gates Foundation. Walker told the Times she had met Epstein in 1992 just after she graduated from college; he told her he could get her a modeling job at Victoria’s Secret, the company owned by his only known client, Lex Wexner. Walker later stayed in a Manhattan apartment building owned by Epstein and remained close to him over the years.
Nathan Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, also reportedly palled around with Epstein.
“Dershowitz sought to convince Ms. Roberts lawyer that Ms. Roberts was mistaken, and that the person to whom Epstein had lent Ms. Roberts was Nathan Myhrvold, not Dershowitz.”
Vanity Fair reported this summer that “Myhrvold has been close with Epstein for years” and that the financier visited Myhrvold’s investment firm, Intellectual Ventures, with some “young girls” who looked like “Russian models.” Myhrvold openly discussed using Epstein’s private jet and staying at his Palm Beach and New York mansions, a source told the magazine.
Myhrvold’s spokesperson denied such claims, telling Vanity Fair that “Nathan has no knowledge of or any involvement in the various crimes that Mr. Epstein is accused of committing.”
“He was never a client of his money management business, and he’s never done business with him of any sort,” the spokesperson added. “Back in the day Epstein was a regular at TED conferences and he was a large donor to basic scientific research, so while Nathan knew him and has socialized with him, that’s exactly where their association ends.”
Epstein’s friend and onetime attorney Alan Dershowitz, however, has attempted to throw Myhrvold under the bus for years.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre has accused Epstein of keeping her as his “slave” and forcing her to have sex with Dershowitz, Prince Andrew and a host of other high-profile men. (The royal and the Harvard law professor have each denied her claims.)
As part of his defense, Dershowitz claims Giuffre had sex with Myhrvold—not himself. Indeed, Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit against Dershowitz mentions this accusation.
“In May 2015 Dershowitz requested confidential settlement negotiations with Ms. Roberts’ lawyers in which Dershowitz sought to convince Ms. Roberts lawyer that Ms. Roberts was mistaken, and that the person to whom Epstein had lent Ms. Roberts was Nathan Myhrvold, not Dershowitz,” the complaint alleges.
Giuffre’s legal team denies Dershowitz’s allegation.
“Dershowitz’s claim that Ms. Roberts confused him with Nathan Myhrvold was tested by showing Ms. Roberts pictures of both. She was, and is, clear that it was Dershowitz, not Myhrvold, with whom she had sex,” the lawsuit alleges.