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Bill Gates has denied ever visiting an island owned by Jeffrey Epstein after being asked about his links to the convicted sex offender.
The Microsoft founder recently participated in an 'Ask Me Anything' on Reddit - his tenth on the site - and one of the most prominent questions put to him focused on his interactions with convicted sex offender Epstein.
According to The Week, from 2011 onwards, Gates met with Epstein several times to discuss contributions to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This was after Epstein's 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor, meaning he was a registered sex offender while Gates was having meetings with him.
Epstein maintained links with many prominent figures and hosted some of them on his own private island, with a number of famous celebrities and prominent politicians among those rumoured to have visited.
While Gates conducted the AMA in his role as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and author of the book How To Prevent The Next Pandemic, the question of his links with Epstein arose.
One person asked: 'Just what was Epstein's island like? What did you do there?'
Rather than ignore the question as many choose to do with difficult subjects that crop up on an AMA, Gates chose to respond and deny that he had been to any island owned by Epstein.
He wrote: "I never visited any of his islands.
"I did have meetings where Global Health funding was discussed. In retrospect I regret meeting with him."
The Independent reports that Gates' meetings with Epstein were allegedly a source of friction between the Microsoft boss and his then-wife Melinda, who described the meetings as something she 'did not like' and Epstein himself as 'evil personified'.
Gates told the BBC that he now saw meeting with Epstein as a mistake and admitted he possibly should have followed his wife's instincts over the matter.
He said: 'I made a mistake ever meeting with Jeffrey Epstein. You know, maybe her instincts on that were keener than mine.
'Any meeting I had with him could be viewed as almost condoning his evil behaviour. So, that was a mistake.'
Gates has previously said that he stopped meeting with Epstein once he realised there was no possibility of securing funding for his charitable foundations.
Epstein died in his prison cell in 2019 after being arrested on federal charges of sex trafficking minors but before he could face trial.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Survivor’s Trust for free on 08088 010 818, or through their website thesurvivorstrust.org
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