Jeffrey Epsten discovered that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had an affair with a Russian bridge player and paid for the woman’s education before asking for reimbursement from Gates in exchange for his silence, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Gates met Mila Antonova around 2010, when he was in his mid-50s and she was in her 20s. Epstein met her three years later and paid for her to attend a software coding school, before emailing Gates in 2017 and asking for the cost of her tuition, the newspaper claimed, citing “people familiar with the matter.”
At the time of the email, Epstein had been trying unsuccessfully to convince Gates to invest in “a multibillion dollar charitable fund” with JPMorgan Chase, the paper continued, explaining that “the implication behind the message…was that Epstein could reveal the affair if Gates didn’t keep up an association between the two men.”
A spokeswoman for Gates confirmed the exchange, stating that “Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates.”
Gates’ relationship with Epstein would eventually be the undoing of his 27-year marriage to Melinda French Gates. A year after divorcing the software magnate, French Gates told CBS News in 2022 that her ex-husband’s relationship with Epstein was “one of many things” that led to the split.
Epstein and Gates first met in 2011, after Epstein had already been convicted for soliciting a child for prostitution. The pair met “many times,” according to a 2019 New York Times report, with Gates telling colleagues that he found Epstein’s lifestyle “very different and kind of intriguing, although it would not work for me.”
Gates now describes his relationship with Epstein as “a mistake,” and told CBS News that he should have taken his ex-wife’s advice and cut ties with the child molester “sooner than I did.”
The cost of Antonova’s coding classes was “immaterial for the two men,” and Gates did not pay, the Wall Street Journal’s sources said. They described Epstein’s email as a means of telling Gates that he “knew about the affair and could expose it.”
Epstein was arrested in 2019 and charged with the sex trafficking of dozens of underage girls, but was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell before he could be brought to trial. His death was ruled a suicide, although this official explanation was met with widespread skepticism, due to his close ties to wealthy and powerful figures, including former US President Bill Clinton, current CIA Director William Burns, and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
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