A recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal uncovered that Jeffrey Epstein had blackmailed tech billionaire Bill Gates over an affair with a 20-year-old. The exposé, published on Sunday, also alleges that Gates had lied about having nothing more than a business relationship with the late pedophile.
According to the Journal, Gates reportedly had a fling with Mila Antonova, a Russian bridge player, back in 2010. The Microsoft founder was 55 and still married to his then-wife Melinda Gates at the time.
Epstein and Gates first met a year later, in 2011, but the extent of their relationship remains a mystery. Epstein, however, managed to cross paths with Antonova in 2013, allegedly via Gates’s connections.
When they met, Antonova was seeking seed funding for an online bridge platform startup called BridgePlanet. But after failing to acquire the necessary $500,000, she decided to pursue a career in software and coding instead.
It was then that Epstein volunteered to pay for her schooling — no strings attached. “Epstein agreed to pay and he paid directly to the school. Nothing was exchanged. I don’t know why he did that,” Antonova explained, adding, “When I asked, he said something like, he was wealthy and wanted to help people when he could.”
Epstein also covered her trip to New York the following year but never ended up meeting her in person. While that was the end of Epstein and Antonova’s relationship, it was the start of another scandal.
It wasn’t until 2017 that Epstein allegedly sent the suggestive email to Gates, threatening to expose his extramarital activities unless he contributed to his up-and-coming charitable fund. Epstein said it would be “reimbursement” for his contribution to Antonov’s scholarship. Gates, however, reportedly refused.
According to the investigation, Epstein was working on setting up a multibillion-dollar charity fund at JP Morgan and wanted to have a number of wealthy and notable people, including Gates, contribute.
But in 2019, Epstein was arrested for child trafficking, and soon after, he allegedly committed suicide while in prison. The latter fact, however, is still considered questionable by the general public to this day.
Given the timeline, social media commenters were quick to jump onto the theory that Epstein deliberately set this situation up in order to have leverage over Gates. If so, it begs to ask how many other powerful people has Epstein done this to.
Gates had previously denied having any connection to Epstein short of a few dinners to discuss charity matters.
A spokesperson for Gates explained to the Journal, “Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates.”
In another statement, the spokesperson also said, “Mr. Gates never had any financial dealings with Epstein. As Bill has said before, it was a mistake to have ever met him.”
Gates himself had also personally commented earlier that, “[Epstein’s] lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."
Recent discoveries appear to prove otherwise, as there are documents that prove that the two had “more than half a dozen meetings scheduled” and that Gates had previously flown on Epstein’s private jet.
In addition, after Bill and Melinda announced their divorce in 2021, Melinda stated that Bill’s relationship with Epstein was one of the major reasons for their separation.
Aside from the aforementioned comments from Gates’s spokesperson, no additional response was given. Antonova has also not responded further.