mirror.co.uk | 25 Oct 2020
EXCLUSIVE: French officials probing dead paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein over rape and abuse of minors and Paris are also investigating his socialite pal
French prosecutors have launched an investigation into Ghislaine Maxwell.
Officials investigating Jeffrey Epstein over rape and abuse of minors in Paris are looking at the British ex-socialite over accusations she too was involved in his offending.
A source told the Mirror: “Both Epstein and Maxwell have a long history and many connections to France.
“As detectives dug further into allegations against him and after receiving information from US investigators, they launched their own probe into Maxwell. It is ongoing.”
Maxwell was born on the outskirts of the French capital and holds citizenship there as well as in the UK and the US.
Before her arrest by the FBI in July on suspicion of grooming and abusing three underage girls, she was thought to be hiding in France, where her family have homes.
Under French law, the country does not extradite its own citizens, fuelling speculation as to why the Brit could have been staying there.
Maxwell was born in the affluent Maisons-Laffitte suburb of western Paris.
She was said to be close to Jean-Luc Brunel, staying at Epstein’s properties together as they both appeared on the billionaire’s private jet’s flight logs and in his book of contacts.
Model agent Brunel allegedly once gifted the late paedophile, who had a home in Paris, three French 12-year-old girls for his birthday one year.
Brunel, 74, has been accused of raping and procuring under-age girls. He has denied such allegations in the past.
He said: “I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager.”
Brunel has been in hiding ever since. Maxwell, 58, the daughter of crooked media tycoon Robert Maxwell, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire, USA, in July.
She has been indicted on four charges that relate to 1994 to 1997 in which she is accused of grooming, trafficking and helping Epstein abuse three girls under 18.
According to the indictment she was among Epstein’s closest associates and in an “intimate relationship” with him.
She faces two other charges of perjury concerning a 2016 civil defamation case. If found guilty, she faces up to 35 years in prison.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and is due for trial in New York in July 2021.
Epstein, 66, committed suicide in his prison cell last year as he awaited trial for underage sex trafficking.