Melinda Gates was worried about her billionaire husband’s business with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2019, people familiar with the matter and a former employee of her philanthropic organization told the Wall Street Journal.
Melinda Gates has been meeting with divorce lawyers since at least 2019, when her husband Bill’s links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were made public, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Monday, citing people familiar with the issue, documents that document reviewed and a former employee of the couple’s philanthropic organization.
Melinda Gates ‘concerns about Bill Gates’ ties to Epstein, who died in prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial for federal sex trafficking charges in the United States, dated 2013, the WSJ told the former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation employee.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has met with Epstein on “numerous occasions” since 2011, after Epstein had already been convicted of sex crimes. The New York Times reported in October 2019, citing more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship.
Melinda Gates had told Bill that she was not comfortable with Epstein after the couple met him together in 2013, the former employee of the Gates Foundation told WSJ, but Bill and other employees of the foundation continued to maintain a relationship with Epstein.
At least three of Bill Gates and Epstein’s meetings were held “in the mansion of Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan home” and involved Bill “at least once lodged late at night,” the Times reported in 2019.
Melinda Gates held several calls with her advisers in 2019 after the publication of the Times report on Bill and Epstein, the WSJ said, citing documents it had reviewed.
Melinda and Bill Gates they announced their decision to divorce after 27 years of marriage in a joint statement posted simultaneously on their Twitter accounts last week.
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the statement said. “We continue to share our belief in this mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives.”
A joint petition filed by the couple in a Seattle court to dissolve their marriage described her as “unbreakable.”
In response to the WSJ’s request for comment on his relationship with Epstein, a spokesman for Bill Gates directed the newspaper to a response he had previously given to the WSJ in a September 2019 interview: “I met him. I didn’t have him. no business relationship or friendship with him “.
Epstein’s old friend, Ghislaine Maxwell, recently he pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges. She is being held in a New York City jail and is due to stand trial this summer. Prosecutors have accused Maxwell, a British socialist, of helping Epstein sexually abuse girls.
Although the Gateses have not said what initiated their divorce, it has shaken the world of philanthropy.
According to Forbes, Bill Gates ’net worth stands at $ 130.5 billion and he has donated $ 35.8 billion worth of Microsoft shares to the couple’s foundation.
He announced last year that he would leave Microsoft’s board to focus full-time on his work as co-chair of the foundation.
Melinda Gates, 56, is the co-chair of the foundation and is the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company that works to promote the interests of American women and families.
Launched in 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the largest in the world, with net assets of $ 43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to its website.
The foundation provided $ 5.1 billion to fellows in 135 countries in 2019 and employs 1,602 people.
The day after the couple announced their divorce, Bill Gates’ holding company, Cascade Investment, transferred $ 1.8 billion in securities and Melinda Gates.