Bill Gates says he ‘made a huge mistake’ meeting with Jeffrey Epstein for fundraising dinners

Bill Gates has admitted he made ‘a huge mistake’ by attending fundraising meetings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Microsoft founder, 65, first met Epstein in 2011 after the financier had been convicted of soliciting sex from a minor in 2008. 

Epstein was also invited to fundraising dinners that promoted the Gates Foundation.

‘At the time, I didn’t realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility,’ Gates told The Times in an interview Sunday. 

‘You’re almost saying, “I forgive that type of behavior,” or something. So clearly the way it’s seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that.’

Gates says he ‘made a huge mistake’ meeting with Jeffrey Epstein for fundraising dinners

The dinners were a point of contention between the Microsoft billionaire and his now ex-wife and business partner, Melinda French Gates, who described Epstein as ‘evil personified.’ 

The couple announced their separation last year after 27 years of marriage.

In earlier interviews, Gates stated how he ultimately stopped meetings with the convicted sex offender after he realized the meetings would not be productive for his philanthropic foundation.

‘I had dinners with him. I regret doing that. He had relationships he said with people he said would give to public health. Not nearly enough philanthropy goes in that direction,’ Gates said in a September 2021 interview. 

‘Those meetings were a mistake. They didn’t result in what he purported, and I cut them off. You know, that goes back a long time ago now,’ he said to PBS.

The billionaire has previously claimed he had concerns about Epstein, who had pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute – years before the tech mogul met the financier. 

‘I had several dinners with him hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing that relationship ended,’ Gates said.   

‘It was a huge mistake to spend time with him and give him the credibility of being there. There were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake.’

Gates has been reported to have visited Epstein’s home numerous times and even talked with him about his ‘toxic’ marriage while the pedophile allegedly gave him advice on ending his marriage, according to the Daily Beast. 

Gates’ visits to Epstein’s ‘lair’ were an escape from his unhappy marriage, and the pair ‘were very close’, a source said.

Flight records also reveal that Gates flew with Epstein on the so-called Lolita Express from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach on March 1, 2013, one of the few flights that year where pilot Larry Viskoski recorded the name of a passenger. 

Melinda Gates in her CBS interview in March 2022. She lifted the lid on her marriage to Bill Gates for the first time including his encounters with Jeffrey Epstein

Melinda Gates in her CBS interview in March 2022. She lifted the lid on her marriage to Bill Gates for the first time including his encounters with Jeffrey Epstein

In her first interview since her divorce from the billionaire last year, Melinda told CBS Mornings in March that she insisted on meeting Epstein back in 2011 because she wanted to see ‘who this man was’. 

‘I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. I made that clear to him. I also met Jeffrey Epstein exactly one time. I wanted to see who this man was and I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door. 

‘He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. That’s why my heart breaks for these young women. That’s how I felt, and I am an older woman. He was awful.’ 

She told how Bill had to answer for the many times he met Epstein, and even suggested that it may have contributed to the divorce. 

‘It was not one thing, it was many things [that led to the divorce]. Any of the questions remaining about what Bill’s relationship with him was… those are for Bill to answer. I made it very clear how I felt about him.’

A spokesperson for Gates told Insider last June that Gates had ‘absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship’ with Epstein, and any meetings between the two were about philanthropy.

Bill and Melinda Gates couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2018 family photo. The kids - Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 26, 22 and 19. Bill and Melinda announced their split in May after 27 years of marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2018 family photo. The kids – Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 26, 22 and 19. Bill and Melinda announced their split in May after 27 years of marriage

Melinda, who shocked the world when she and Bill announced in May 2021 that they were ending their 27-year marriage, previously told how she endured emotionally challenging times whilst working with the billionaire.

The pair’s divorce was finalized privately in Washington – where their Gates Foundation is based – in August.

The terms of it were never made public but Bill was worth around $152billion at the time, giving Melinda a 50 percent settlement of $76billion. 

That does not include the couple’s vast property portfolio which comprised of homes in New York, Washington, and California.

Melinda said in March that she and Bill are not friends but are ‘friendly’ and work together, and she suggested he had more than one affair throughout their marriage. 

‘Those are questions Bill needs to answer,’ she said when asked about reports he cheated multiple times. He previously acknowledged one affair.

A photo shows Bill and Melinda Gates while they were dating before getting married

A photo shows Bill and Melinda Gates while they were dating before getting married

‘I believe in forgiveness. I thought we had worked through some of that,’ Melinda said of his 2000 affair with a Microsoft employee. I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed from the day we got engaged to the day I got out of it.’

Gates’ spokeswoman confirmed he had a sexual relationship with a female staff member in 2000 and that he resigned as an investigation into the relationship was being conducted by an external law firm on behalf of the company board.

The New York Times also reported that Gates asked out a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation and, couple of years later, asked out an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – both while he was married.

Gates reportedly told the Microsoft employee in an email: ‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened.’ She said she took his advice.

Gates later allegedly asked an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to dinner, while the pair were in New York for a trip.

Last year, four Microsoft employees accused Gates of being an office ‘bully’ whose catchphrase was ‘that’s the stupidest f*****g idea I’ve ever heard’ and supported claims he pursued sexual affairs with employees and journalists.

Gates’ reputation as a hot-tempered boss began not long after he launched tech giant Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, Insider reported. A spokesperson for the billionaire has denied he mistreated employees.

A former Microsoft executive who spoke on condition of anonymity told the outlet that ‘having a meeting with Bill was just an opportunity to get yelled at, so I tried to avoid that.’

Gates would even allegedly track his employees by memorizing their license plates, according to the outlet. 

Maria Klawe, a former Microsoft board member, said ‘a person like Bill Gates thinks the usual rules of behavior don’t apply to him’ and accused him of being unreceptive to suggestions about improving diversity.

Klawe said that Gates behaved as if he was the ‘smartest person in the room’ and that diversity was not something Gates ‘was interested in hearing about.’

She said that, when female executives would suggest diversity initiatives, Gates would allegedly respond with: ‘Are you trying to effing destroy the company?’

A spokesperson for Gates told Insider that Klawe’s allegations are a ‘gross mischaracterization.’ 

Melinda herself was an employee at Microsoft, having been hired as a product manager in 1987, when the billionaire first asked her out months after flirting with her at a conference dinner.

In the 1992 biography Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, author James Wallace revealed Gates had an alleged affair with a married woman 13 years older than him when he was 27 years old.

His alleged affair was with the wife of an Osborne Computer executive who lived abroad, according to the biography.

Gates himself admitted to frequenting the area, centered on Washington Street between Boylston Street and Kneeland Street, in a 1994 interview he did with Playboy magazine.

‘Just because I went there doesn’t mean I engaged in everything that was going on,’ Gates said.

‘I ate pizza, read books and watched what was going on. I went to the diners.’

Wallace claimed to Insider that Gates’ penchant for socializing with women remained even after he started dating Melinda Gates in 1987.

Gates was allegedly known to invite friends to swim naked at his bachelor pad in Laurelhurst where he ’rounded up’ dancers from local all-nude nightclubs, Wallace said.

‘I don’t know if he physically transported them or if he just told them where to show up,’ Wallace told the outlet.

Robert X. Cringely, who wrote a popular computer gossip column for InfoWorld, told Insider that Gates was allegedly often inebriated at tech events and after-parties and that he ‘got drunk pretty easily.’

‘All of us will have been at some affair where Bill was clearly impaired. He was happier’ drunk, Cringely said.

Gates, then 33, took a helicopter to Les Arcs ski resort in the French Alps for an international sales meeting for Microsoft in the summer of 1988 where he was allegedly caught lying on top of a woman on the lawn.

The pair were ‘just snuggling’ after Gates joined his employees for drinks in a Swiss chalet and partied until the early morning, Dan Graves, a former Microsoft export manager, told Insider.

After he started dating Melinda, Gates allegedly struggled to commit to her and she was allegedly aware of his ‘womanizing,’ the outlet reported. The couple even broke up for at least a year early in their relationship.

‘Bill wanted to be married, but he didn’t know whether he could actually commit to it and have Microsoft,’ Melinda said in an interview for the Netflix docuseries Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates.

Even after marrying Melinda, Gates told Time magazine in 1997 that he still went on annual vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with his ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad, the software entrepreneur whom he had dated from 1984 to 1987.

Bill and Melinda Gates’ personal affairs have been managed by Watermark Estate Management since at least 2001, which would allegedly arrange Gates’ annual beach trips with Winblad.


 1999 – Virginia Roberts Giuffre is allegedly recruited by Ghislaine Maxwell to became Epstein’s ‘sex slave,’ at 17. She also claimed that he forced her to have sex with his friend Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth.

2002 – Trump tells New York Magazine that his friend Epstein ‘likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.’

2005 – A 14-year-old girl tells police that Epstein molested her at his Palm Beach mansion.

May 2006 – Epstein and two of his associates are charged with multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor. State attorney of the time Barry Krischer, referred the case to a grand jury who heard from just two of the 12 girls law enforcement had gathered as potential witnesses. They returned just one single count of soliciting prostitution.

July 2006 – The case is referred to the FBI by the Florida Palm Beach police who were unhappy with how the case was handled.

2007 – Epstein’s lawyers meet with Miami’s top federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who would later become the Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration. They secretly negotiate the ‘deal of a lifetime’.

June 2008 – After pleading guilty to two prostitution charges, the millionaire was sentenced to 18 months in a low-security prison in exchange for prosecutors ending their investigation into his sex acts with minors and give him immunity from future prosecution related to those charges. In reality, Epstein was able to work from his office six days a week while supposedly incarcerated at the jail.

July 2008 – Accusers learned of the deal for the first time.

July 2009 – Epstein is released from jail five months early.

July 2018 – The Miami Herald publishes investigative journalist Julie K. Brown’s exposé on Epstein’s long history of alleged sexual abuse and news of the ‘deal of a lifetime’ after Acosta was made Labor Secretary.

February 2019 – The justice department opens an internal review into Epstein’s plea deal.

July 7, 2019 – Epstein is arrested after his private jet lands at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport from Paris. At the same time, federal agents break into his Manhattan townhouse where they uncovered hundreds of photographs of naked minors.

July 8, 2019 – Epstein is charged with sex trafficking charges which detail how he created a network of underage girls in Florida and New York, paying girls as young as 14 to provide ‘massages and sex acts.’ The charges carry a sentence of up to 45 years in prison.

July 11, 2019 – More than a dozen women, not previously known to law enforcement, came forward to accuse him of sex abuse.

July 24 – Epstein was found unconscious in his cell after an apparent suicide attempt. He was moved to suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

August 9, 2019 – More than 2,000 documents are unsealed which reveal the lurid allegations against Epstein in detail.

August 10, 2019 – Epstein is found dead in his cell.

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