18 Jul 2019
Financier Jeffrey Epstein is an accused sex trafficker. This much we know. The new SDNY investigation will hopefully cure the bogus plea deal Epstein received in Florida at the direction of then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, who is now an ex-secretary of labor due to negative publicity finally catching up to the deal and rubbing off on President Trump’s administration.
But where did Epstein’s money come from? Where does it go? There are plenty of media reports suggesting that Epstein ran his own hedge fund after leaving Bear Stearns but no one seems to know who his clients were beyond retail king Les Wexner, nor whom he traded with. One report even suggested that Epstein might have belonged to “intelligence.”
Well, even spies are required to pay their taxes.
The bare-bones financial statement provided to the Federal Court in Manhattan on Monday, which summarized Epstein’s wealth, left out a whole lot of detail—frustrating the prosecutors but tantalizing the rest of the world. According to his lawyers, Epstein is half a billionaire—worth in excess of $500 million. Lots of cash, equity investments and properties (including offshore in the U.S. Virgin Islands) were outlined, but no real detail was included that could explain the “piles of cash” and dozens of diamonds found in his safe by FBI agents during a raid on his $77 million Upper East Side mansion.
Nor was much explanation provided for the passport found in the safe—issued by Austria with a Saudi address, and bearing Epstein’s photo but containing a different name. Police have not confirmed whether the passport is legitimate or fake; Epstein’s lawyers say it was just for protection against hijacking.
The Daily Beast has previously reported on Epstein’s supposed multimillion-dollar investment in a modeling agency called MC2, run by his associate Jean-Luc Brunel, which allegedly sourced models from Europe. (Brunel has denied that Epstein helped fund his agency.) Epstein is also alleged to have secretly invested $1 million in an Israeli tech start-up originally called Reporty Homeland Security Ltd. but now called Carbyne Ltd. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is the chairman of Carbyne Ltd., which purports to develop call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services. Carbyne Ltd. has offices and employees throughout South America and just opened offices in Mexico. Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to attack his rival Barak’s association with Epstein, raising questions not only about Carbyne Ltd. but also queries about a 2004 transfer of $2.3 million from the Wexner Foundation, apparently made by Epstein to Barak for murky reasons.
Barak claimed the Wexner transfer was for “research” purposes and that Carbyne Ltd. was a legitimate business that had paid all its taxes.
Did they? Did Epstein? Given the immense unexplained wealth accumulated by Epstein, authorities will surely give serious consideration to exploring the money trails via a criminal tax fraud and/or money laundering investigation.
By Martin Sheil, The Daily Beast, 17 July 2019
Read more at The Daily Beast
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