July 2, 2020 | News | No Comments
Police have searched the Paris apartment of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, advancing the French leg of a probe into trafficking claims against the disgraced US financier, prosecutors confirmed on Tuesday.
Detectives scoured Epstein’s luxury home in Paris on Avenue Foch, one of the capital’s most expensive streets, favoured by royalty, celebrities and billionaires, into the early hours of Tuesday.
Prosecutors said that investigators had last week also searched the premises of Karin Models, an agency founded by Jean-Luc Brunel, a French friend and former associate of Epstein.
Epstein was found hanged in his New York jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial.
Before his death, prosecutors argued he should be kept behind bars ahead of his trial after finding a fake passport in a safe filled with diamonds and piles of cash in his $77 million (£62m) Upper East Side mansion.
Epstein was a well-connected financier who counted Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among his former friends.
In the bail memorandum, prosecutors said a search of his New York residence uncovered "an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially nude young women or girls," some of which "appear to be of underage girls”.
Earlier this month, British Epstein victim Sarah Ransome recounted how she tried and failed to swim several miles from a 70-acre Caribbean island owned by Epstein called Little St James after months of abuse.
“I had been raped three times that day,” she said. “A shark would have been my best friend at that point. I didn’t even think about it – it was just, get me away.”
But Epstein had installed video cameras all over the island, she said, and within minutes of her setting out a team had appeared to try and persuade her to return to the house.
Miss Ransome filed a lawsuit against Epstein, his confidante Ghislaine Maxwell, and three alleged assistants, claiming she was trafficked for sex over the course of seven months.
Ms Maxwell denied the allegations and applied for a Motion to Dismiss the Claim.
The case was eventually settled out of court, but Miss Ransome told her full story for the first time in the wake of Epstein’s suicide to encourage other young women to come forward.
In August, she was one of 20 women to recount their allegations against Epstein at a special hearing in a Manhattan court.
Claims of abuse have since emerged across the Atlantic, and three women have already given evidence to investigators in France.
French investigators are trying to identify French citizens or residents who were victims or accomplices of Mr Epstein’s alleged crimes.
Until the women came forward, investigators were pursuing allegations that Mr Epstein raped or sexually assaulted underage girls in France on the basis of three letters from Innocence in Danger, an advocacy group.