Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and close friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested, an FBI spokesman has said.
Maxwell was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.
Born in Maisons-Laffitte, Île-de-France, in 1961, Ghislaine Maxwell is the youngest of the nine children of Betty and Robert Maxwell, the media tycoon owner of the Mirror Group
Ghislaine was rumoured to be his favourite child, and the former Labour MP named his £15m ($18.6m) yacht Lady Ghislaine after her. He put his daughter in charge of his football club he owned, Oxford United, and when he acquired the New York Daily News, he reportedly sent Ghislaine to warm up Manhattan society for his arrival.
Following her father’s death in 1991 – after apparently falling overboard from Lady Ghislaine near the Canary Islands – Ghislaine Maxwell flew to New York onboard a Concorde. She left behind a huge uproar over $460m found to be missing from her father’s companies’ pensions funds.
Her family’s wealth, status and influence considerably depleted, Maxwell found something of a replacement in her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but it evolved into something more akin to that of a close friend, confidante and personal assistant. Epstein was later convicted of sex offences, and subsequently died in prison in 2019.
In 2015, Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, sued Maxwell, alleging the British socialite defamed her by claiming she was a liar in her accusations against Maxwell and Epstein. Giuffre has accused Maxwell of recruiting her to work as Epstein’s masseuse at the age 15, when she was a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in south Florida. Documents released as part of the lawsuit contain lurid claims about the alleged sex trafficking.
In July 2020, after having been in hiding, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on charges related to Jeffrey Epstein.
Read more: The Guardian