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Melinda Gates started divorce process in 2019, partly due to Epstein ties

Bill and Melinda Gates in Kirkland, Wash., Feb. 1, 2018. (The New York Times)


Melinda Gates started divorce process in 2019, partly due to Epstein ties


According to the Wall Street Journal, Melinda French Gates started consulting with divorce attorneys well over a year before her separation from Bill Gates was revealed last week, partially due to worries over her husband’s dealings with convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

According to a former employee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates’ reservations regarding Bill Gates’ links to Epstein, who died in prison in August 2019 while pending trial on federal human trafficking charges in the United States, date back to 2013.

According to the Daily Beast, Melinda Gates, a vocal advocate of women’s and girls’ rights, was “furious” after meeting with Epstein in 2013.

As news of Bill Gates’ alleged ties to Epstein arose in 2019, a Gates spokesperson said that “any account of a business partnership or personal relationship” between Gates and Epstein “is simply not true.”

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources and divorce records, that Melinda Gates, 56, has been consulting with lawyers at various firms since at least October 2019 — the same month her husband was first revealed as having regularly visited Epstein at his Manhattan mansion.

After meeting Epstein in 2013, Melinda Gates, a global lobbyist for women and girls, told her billionaire tech entrepreneur partner, Bill Gates, that she was unhappy with him, according to the outlet’s sources.


The billionaire met with Epstein many occasions, according to the New York Times, and even remained late at his New York townhouse. The talks, according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, were centered on philanthropy.

The divorce was negotiated during the pandemic, with legal firms coordinating with a mediator to split their $145 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

According to the New York Times, at least three of Bill Gates’ and Epstein’s discussions took place “at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse” and included Bill “at least once staying late into the night.”

Following the publication of the Times article regarding Bill and Epstein in 2019, Melinda Gates had a series of calls with her advisors, according to records obtained by the WSJ.

According to flight history, the Microsoft billionaire even reportedly traveled on Epstein’s so-called “Lolita Express” private jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida in 2013.

Despite Melinda’s fears, Gates and some employees from their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation retained relations with the sick financier, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gates attributed his meetings with Epstein to a “mistake in judgment” after the original exposure of his meetings.

The pair stated that they plan to continue to serve as co-chairs and trustees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, is the foundation’s third trustee. All three have pledged to donate the overwhelming bulk of their fortunes.

According to Bloomberg News, a holding firm established by Bill Gates sold ownership interests in four independent firms worth more than $2 billion to Melinda French Gates only days after the separation was revealed. The most of that comes from around 14.1 million Canadian National Railway Co. shares.

Last week, Melinda and Bill Gates declared their divorce after 27 years of marriage in a joint statement released on their Twitter pages at the same time.

“We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” according to the release. “We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

The couple’s union was defined as “irretrievably broken” in a joint petition lodged in a Seattle court to end it.

Legal documents reveal that Melinda was already consulting with her current legal staff 18 months ago, which included Robert Cohen, who formerly advised Michael Bloomberg and Ivana Trump in their divorces.

Ronald Olson, a lawyer at Munger, Tolles & Olson who has advised Mark Zuckerberg, is among her husband’s high-powered legal staff, according to the WSJ.

Olson is a board director at Berkshire Hathaway, where Gates served on the board with his personal associate and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett until last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Gateses were already 1,250 miles away when they filed for divorce.

According to the filing, Bill signed the papers in Palm Desert, California, while his wife did so in Bellevue, Washington, near the family home and the foundation’s headquarters.

Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former friend, previously pled not guilty to federal human trafficking allegations. She is now being housed in a New York City prison and will stand trial this year. Prosecutors claim Maxwell, a British socialite, assisted Epstein in sexually abusing young women.

The Gateses’ split has shaken the field of philanthropy, despite the fact that they have not stated what caused it.

Gates’ spokesperson said that he encountered Epstein in 2019 but that he “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”

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