Bill Gates 'ended uncomfortably close’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein after paedo creeped out Melinda at NY mansion
BILL Gates ended his "uncomfortably close" relationship with convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein after he creeped out his wife Melinda, it has been reported.
The couple visited the Peado billionaire's townhouse on the Upper East Side, New York, in 2013 – a social call which left Melinda "furious" with her husband, sources close to the couple revealed.
She was disturbed by Bill's relationship with the wealthy Epstein, telling friends how uncomfortable she was in his company and that she wanted "nothing to do with him", the Daily Beast reported.
Melinda's take on the meeting proved a turning point in the Microsoft co-founder and Epstein's relationship, the sources said, but the alliance continues to haunt her.
"He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner,' one person told the outlet. "I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him."
They met with Epstein on the same day the pair accepted the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award in the city, at the Pierre Hotel, and were photographed with then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
The tech-tycoon couple announced their divorce this week, saying their marriage was "irretrievably broken" – and both hired an army of legal experts to dissect their assets.
Gates and the disgraced financier first struck up a friendship in 2011 – three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida – and met on numerous occasions, The New York Times reported.
Claims of Epstein's impropriety were widely reported by then, but Gates continued to connect with him – visiting his New York townhouse at least three times, according to the publication.
In an email to colleagues in 2011, Gates wrote: "[Epstein's] lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."
But his spokesperson said he "was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence – and Epstein's habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates."
In 2013, he flew on Epstein's private plane – dubbed the 'Lolita Express' as it was allegedly an aircraft used to traffic underage girls – but his spokesperson claimed he was not aware that the plane belonged to the banker.
They met up for dinner in New York later that year, but were no longer in contact by the end of 2014, according to The Times.
"Mr. Epstein complained to an acquaintance at the end of 2014 that Mr. Gates had stopped talking to him," a person familiar with the conversation told the outlet.
Gates later claimed he had merely hoped that Epstein would help him raise money for his global health initiatives.
"I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him," he said in September 2019, after media scrutiny of the pair's relationship.
"I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. 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."
He also said he "wished they never met" and had "made a mistake" thinking Epstein could have helped him raise funds for global health charities.
He told the Wall Street Journal: "There were people around [Epstein] who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.
"I feel bad. We probably will at some point accept someone into the Giving Pledge and it will turn out that their fortune is a disreputable fortune. When you're engaging in this, if you really want to get out there and get more people drawn into philanthropy, there is a risk that you'll make a mistake."
The Gates' announced their divorce this week, saying: "We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," calling quits on their 27-year marriage.
Bill has now hired lawyers at the legal firm started by his close friend, US tycoon Warren Buffett, amid claims the pair do not have a pre-nup.
The couple — who have hired three sets of lawyers EACH — had previously pledged to give most of their fortune away, but could now be forced to squabble over it in one of the costliest divorces in history.
Speaking out after her parents’ bombshell divorce news, their eldest daughter Jennifer, 25, revealed how it had shaken her family.
She said: "It’s been a challenging stretch of time. I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members."
Court documents lodged in King County, Washington, close to the couple’s giant 66,000-square-foot eco-mansion, showed it was Melinda, 56, who petitioned for the divorce.
They also reveal that the wealthy pair — who have the world’s largest charitable foundation — had already fleshed out a "separation contract".
Melinda wrote: "The marriage is irretrievably broken. We ask the court to dissolve our marriage."
The court documents dropped just 24 minutes after a statement from the couple appeared on their social media accounts, confirming their split.
They promised to continue their charitable foundation work, but said: "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage."
A straight down the middle split of the Gates' fortune could see Bill slide down Forbes rich list to 17th place.
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