Friday 23 August 2019

Sex accused Epstein 'misappropriated vast sums' from Victoria's Secret mogul

Jeffrey Epstein (AP)
Jeffrey Epstein (AP)

The retail titan behind Victoria's Secret has accused financier Jeffrey Epstein of misappropriating "vast sums" of his fortune while managing his personal finances more than a decade ago.

Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner said in a letter that he recovered "some of the funds" but severed ties with Epstein in 2007 as sexual abuse allegations surfaced against him in Florida.

The letter was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which put the amount of misappropriated money at more than $46m.

It is unclear whether Mr Wexner reported the allegations to law enforcement.

"This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now," Mr Wexner wrote.

He added that he was "sickened" by Epstein's alleged abuse of dozens of under-age girls in New York and Florida.

Epstein (66) has pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges.

Mr Wexner is the founder and chief executive officer of L Brands, a fashion retailer based in Ohio. The company's board recently hired an outside law firm to review any role Epstein may have played at the business.

Epstein managed Mr Wexner's fortune beginning in the late 1980s and helped straighten out the finances for a real estate development Mr Wexner was backing in a wealthy suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

It was through Mr Wexner that Epstein acquired his seven-storey Manhattan mansion less than a block from Central Park, a 21,000-square-foot residence valued at about 77 million dollars.

Mr Wexner said he believed he could trust Epstein at first based on "friends who vouched for and recommended him as a knowledgeable financial professional".

"I am embarrassed that, like so many others, I was deceived by Mr Epstein," he wrote in the letter.

"I know now that my trust in him was grossly misplaced and I deeply regret having ever crossed his path."

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