Paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein has been accused by the US District Attorney’s office of paying out $350,000 in the days after details of his conduct were revealed in an attempt to “further influence co-conspirators”.
Epstein, who once counted Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew among his friends, was charged with two counts of sex trafficking by prosecutors earlier this week, who said he had preyed on dozens of girls in New York and Florida.
Now court filings presented by US attorney for the district Geoffrey Berman to challenge Epstein’s request for release on bail have claimed the 66-year-old “wired $100,000 from a trust account he controlled to an individual named as a possible co-conspirator” in November last year.
The payments came just days after the Miami Herald began to publish stories accusing the billionaire of sexually abusing dozens of girls – and outlining the plea deal he negotiated in 2008 that saw him avoid a federal trial and serve only 13 months behind bars for state prostitution charges over his involvement with underage girls.
The deal was negotiated with Donald Trump’s former labour secretary Alex Acosta in 2008 when he served as the US attorney for Miami. Mr Acosta resigned from his post on Friday following increased scrutiny over his involvement in the case.
Just a few days after his first payment, the filing noted, Epstein “wired $250,000 from the same trust account to another individual named as a possible co-conspirator” – an individual previously identified as one of his employees.
The legal document added: “Neither of these payments appears to be recurring or repeating during the approximately five years of bank records presently available to the government.
“This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations.”
The alleged payoffs are one of a string of reasons the US District Attorney’s office provided for refusing Epstein bail, as well as “extraordinary wealth … continued possession of lewd photographs of young females, and both the incentive and means to flee prosecution”.
It comes as lawyers for the disgraced financier offered his mansion and private jet as part of a bail package to avoid him having to spend time in jail.
His legal representatives proposed his New York mansion, said to be worth $77m, could be offered as bond, as could his private jet. Epstein, who in 2008 pleaded guilty to a single charge of sex with a minor as part of a controversial plea deal, also owns a private island.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy, and is due in court on Monday for a hearing considering his bail request.
His lawyers are yet to respond to claims he paid off potential co-conspirators.