According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, late financier Jeffrey Epstein reportedly threatened to disclose Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ extramarital affair with a young Russian woman unless Gates participated in his business venture.
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The alleged encounter surfaced amidst a sequence of interactions in which Epstein apparently sought to leverage his ties with prominent figures for personal gain.
In 2010, Gates met Mila Antonova, a Russian bridge player in her 20s. Epstein was introduced to Antonova in 2013, during which time he funded her attendance at a software coding school. After Antonova’s graduation, while attempting to involve Gates in a project, Epstein sent him an email requesting reimbursement for her education expenses.
The sum involved was negligible for billionaires like Epstein and Gates. However, according to sources familiar with the situation, the email appeared to imply that Epstein might publicize the affair if Gates severed his connections with him. Despite Epstein’s efforts to entice Gates beyond philanthropic interactions, he was unable to succeed, according to a Gates spokesperson.
“Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates,” the spokesperson said, also confirming that Gates did not accede to the payment request.
The Wall Street Journal report reveals that Epstein made the veiled threat after Gates turned down an invitation to join a multibillion-dollar charitable fund. Epstein was planning this fund with JPMorgan Chase, which would have potentially provided him with millions of dollars in fees and could have helped restore his image following his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting and procuring minors for prostitution.
Gates had reportedly scheduled over half a dozen meetings with Epstein since 2011, including visits to Epstein’s private residence in New York. The evolving nature of their relationship, as per the report, paints a detailed picture of Epstein’s attempts to manipulate his high-profile connections.