Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, companion of Jeffrey Epstein?

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, companion of Jeffrey Epstein?
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 15: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images/Patrick McMullan via Getty Image)

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on charges she helped her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, “recruit, groom and ultimately abuse” multiple girls, one as young as 14 and at least two others who were younger than 18.

The socialite daughter of a disgraced media mogul, Maxwell had a relationship with Epstein that lasted for years. Maxwell was by his side in many settings until his arrest on charges he trafficked underaged girls as sex partners for wealthy and powerful men around the world.

Maxwell, the indictment charges, procured young women for Epstein and his friends. She also faces perjury charges.

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Who is Ghislaine Maxwell? Here is what we know about her:

  • She was born in France on Christmas Day in 1961, the youngest of the nine children of Robert and Elisabeth Maxwell. She grew up in a 53-room mansion in Oxford, England.
  • Her name is pronounced “giz-lane,” (with a hard “g” sound), though some pronounce it  “gee-lane.”
  • According to her mother, she became anorexic as a toddler after her brother suffered injuries in a car crash that left him in a coma until his death eight years later.
  • She was educated at Marlborough College school and Balliol College, Oxford.
  • Her father was a publishing mogul who owned book publishing companies, London’s Daily Mirror and the New York Daily News newspapers.  After his death, Maxwell was found to have embezzled money from one of his company’s pension funds.
  • Robert Maxwell drowned in 1991. His body was found in the Atlantic Ocean near his yacht which was in the Canary Islands at the time.  
  • At age 21, she became the director of her father’s soccer team, Oxford United, and was set up by her father in a company that sold corporate gifts.
  • In the late 1980s, she founded the Kit Kat Club. The club was a gathering place designed to bring together women from the arts, politics and society.
  • She was a friend of England’s Prince Andrew who said in an interview that he had known her since she was in college. On at least one occasion, she and Epstein were guests of Andrew’s at one of Queen Elizabeth’s estates.
  • She was a friend of John F. Kennedy Jr. until his death in a plane crash in 1999.
  • She founded The TerraMar Project in 2012. It was an ocean-advocacy group. It folded in July 2019, a week after charges against Epstein for sex trafficking were announced.
  • She had a serious relationship with Count Gianfranco Cicogna, a businessman and sometime stunt pilot who died in a plane crash in 2012.
  • Maxwell had a relationship with Ted Waitt, founder of Gateway computers. She attended the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010 as Waitt’s guest. The couple stopped seeing each other in late 2010 or early 2011.
  • She is reported to have had a relationship with Scott Borgerso, CEO of the hedge fund investment company CargoMetrics and was said to be living with him at times in his home in Massachusetts.
  •  She met Epstein after she moved to New York City following her father’s death.
  • By the early 2000s, Epstein and those around him were being investigated by the FBI for sex trafficking. The agency identified more than 30 people who had been abused by Epstein, most were young girls.
  • According to media reports, Maxwell has been under investigation for procuring underage girls for Epstein’s sex trafficking purposes. She has denied those allegations.
  • She has been in hiding since Epstein was arrested.   
  • Maxwell has testified that she had “a very small part” in Epstein’s life, and it had been to find “adult professional massage therapists” for him.  
  • She has been sued by at least six women who claim they were victims of she and Epstein. Maxwell has repeatedly denied she had anything to do with the sexual abuse Epstein was convicted of. She said she did not procure girls for Epstein nor did she threaten the girls as some have accused her of doing.
  • On Aug. 10, 2019, Epstein’s body was found in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
  • On March 12, 2020, she filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in the U.S. Virgin Islands seeking compensation from Epstein’s estate for her legal costs.