Late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, after discovering that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had had an affair with a Russian bridge player, used what he'd learned in an attempt to blackmail the billionaire, according to people familiar with the incident.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Gates met the Russian, Mila Antonova, in 2010, when she was in her 20s. Epstein, after meeting her three years later, paid for her to attend a software coding course.
Then, in 2017, Epstein, who had tried and failed to convince Gates to take part in a multi-billion charitable fund he'd attempted to set up with JPMorgan, emailed Gates and asked that he reimburse him for the course Antonova had taken.
People who viewed the message said it implied that Epstein would reveal the affair if Gates didn't keep his associations with him.
A spokeswoman for Gates said that he'd met with Epstein "solely for philanthropic purposes," but "having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates."
She also said that Gates had not had financial dealings with Epstein.
"Mr. Gates had no financial dealings with Epstein," she said.
Gates has insisted several times that he only met with Epstein a few times while discussing philanthropy and that he regrets their meetings.
Antonova, meanwhile, would not comment about Gates and said she did not know who Epstein was when they met.
"I just thought he was a successful businessman and wanted to help," she said. "I am disgusted with Epstein and what he did."
Gates and Epstein had more than a half-dozen meetings, starting in 2011, and the tech billionaire flew on Epstein's private plane from New Jersey to Florida in March 2013. He also had dinners at Epstein's townhouse in New York, met in France with Epstein and an official on the Nobel Peace Prize committee, and spent a day together in New York City in September 2014 along with other billionaires.
Antonova, meanwhile, wanted to start an online business to teach people how to play bridge and was seeking funds for it when Gates confidant Boris Nikolic introduced her to Epstein.
Nikolic, like Gates, also says he regrets ever meeting Epstein, as "his crimes were despicable."
Epstein ultimately didn't invest in Antonova's project but offered to pay for her programming course, although she said she didn't know why.
At the same time, Epstein was meeting with other Gates associates, including former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and Gates Foundation staffer Melanie Walker, according to documents.
A spokeswoman for Myhrvold said Epstein was a regular at TED conferences and donated to scientific research leading to their association.
A spokesman for Walker declined to comment on her meetings with Epstein.
At that same time, Epstein was trying to set up the fund with JPMorgan, which would have cost those investing a minimum investment of $100 million per person and to pay him millions in fees.
The fund hinged on seeking Gates' support, but his spokeswoman said Epstein never worked for him and had misrepresented their association with JPMorgan.
Meanwhile, when Gates and his wife Melinda divorced in 2021, she said her ex-husband's ties with the "abhorrent" Epstein were part of the reason she split with him.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.