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Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, the Epstein confidant detained by the FBI?

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested in the US on charges of helping to lure underage girls who were then sexually abused by Epstein.

Maxwell has kept a low profile since the death in August of Epstein, a financier who was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades. Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.

Ghislaine Maxwell, in a black dress, pictured with her father, British media tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell.

Ghislaine Maxwell, in a black dress, pictured with her father, British media tycoon and fraudster Robert Maxwell.
Credit:Apha Press/Australscope

Here are some facts about her:

  • Maxwell, 58, has previously been accused in court filings of facilitating a sex-trafficking operation that brought girls to Epstein’s opulent Manhattan home, but she had not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Her lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
  • Maxwell was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who became a long-time member of his inner circle. In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein was quoted as saying Maxwell was his “best friend”.
  • She is the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, who founded a publishing house and owned tabloids including the Daily Mirror. It emerged after Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in 1991 that he had looted hundreds of millions of dollars from employee pension funds to prop up his crumbling business empire.
  • In the early 1990s, Ghislaine Maxwell moved to New York, where she worked selling real estate. Around that time she began her romantic relationship with Epstein, a financier who lived in a lavish style and attended high society parties.
Donald Trump and his future wife Melania Knauss, pictured in 2000 with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Donald Trump and his future wife Melania Knauss, pictured in 2000 with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.Credit:Getty Images

  • Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.
  • In 2013 and 2014, Maxwell spoke at the United Nations in her capacity as the founder of the TerraMar Project, an oceanic conservation group.
  • Maxwell largely disappeared from public view in 2016 and was particularly elusive after Epstein was charged with sex trafficking.
  • The Washington Post reported in August that neighbours said Maxwell had been living in a secluded ocean-front mansion in Massachusetts owned by a technology entrepreneur, Scott Borgerson, who declined to tell the newspaper whether Maxwell had lived there with him.
  • A British tabloid, The Sun, said in November that it was offering a £10,000 ($18,000) reward for information on Maxwell’s whereabouts.

Reuters

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