In 2019, it was reported that the billionaire had met Epstein on several occasions and once stayed late at his New York townhouse.
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Melinda French Gates began working with divorce attorneys well over a year before her split from Bill Gates was announced last week, in part due to concerns about her husband’s relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The 56-year-old spoke to lawyers from several firms as early as October 2019, saying the marriage was “irretrievably broken,” the Journal reported on Sunday, citing documents and people familiar with the matter. Her unease over her ex-husband’s ties to Epstein dates back to at least 2013, according to the newspaper.
the New York Times reported in October 2019 that the billionaire had met Epstein on several occasions and once stayed late at his New York townhouse. A spokesperson for the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said at the time that the meetings were focused on philanthropy. Epstein had died in prison two months earlier while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
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Divorce was negotiated during the COVID-19 pandemic, involving legal teams working with a mediator to divide their fortunes, which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index sets at $ 145 billion.
The couple said they plan to remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Billionaire Warren Buffett is the foundation’s third administrator. All three have sworn to give up the vast majority of their wealth.
In the days after the split was announced, a holding company created by Bill Gates transferred stakes in four different companies, totaling more than $ 2 billion, to Melinda French Gates, Bloomberg reported. News. Most of it comes from about 14.1 million shares of the Canadian National Railway Company.
Days before his death in a New York jail, Epstein appointed Boris Nikolic, a little-known biotech venture capitalist, as the deputy executor of his will. Nikolic had worked as a scientific advisor to Bill Gates and most recently funded more than a dozen companies in gene editing and other health technologies.
In an emailed statement at the time, Nikolic told Bloomberg that Epstein had not consulted with him about the will and that he had no intention of performing his duties.