Bill and Melinda Gates's divorce linked to sex-offender Epstein connection?
Shortly after Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split on May 3, there are reports that their divorce was in the works since 2019. According to a report, the 56-year-old philanthropist was concerned about her husband's dealings with disgraced financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly committed suicide in his prison cell before prosecution could get to the root of the case.
Although the couple has not mentioned what prompted the divorce, people familiar with the matter and a former employee of their charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told The Wall Street Journal that Melinda's concerns about Epstein went as far back as 2013. She had been working with lawyers at several firms since at least 2019 to end their marriage of 27 years.
After the couple met Epstein together in 2013, Melinda had told her husband she was uncomfortable with the financier. However, the Microsoft co-founder and some employees of the Gates Foundation continued their relationship with Epstein despite her concerns. Notably, by the time Gates met Epstein for the first time, the latter had already been convicted and served time as a sex offender.
When asked about his relationship with Epstein in a September 2019 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gates had said, "I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him." However, his spokesperson Bridgitt Arnold said, "Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so."
In fact, Epstein had named a biotech venture capitalist Boris Nikolic as backup executor of his will, days before he died. And, Nikolic had worked as a science advisor to Gates. However, Nikolic had told Bloomberg at the time that Epstein had not consulted him about the will and that he had no intention to fulfill the duties.
Some reports also claimed that Zhe 'Shelly' Wang, a translator for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared a very close relationship with either Bill or Melinda. However, Wang took to social media to reject the "groundless" claims. "I originally thought (the rumor) would be self-defeating from groundless sources, but I didn't expect it to get more crazy," Wang wrote in Mandarin.
The divorce was negotiated during the pandemic, involving legal teams working with a mediator to divide their fortune, which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegs at $145 billion. The couple said that they plan on remaining co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The couple also has three children who are 18 years or older now, the youngest being in high school.