Accused child-sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein stole tens of millions of dollars from Leslie H. Wexner, the L Brands founder and CEO said in a letter Wednesday to his charitable foundation.
Wexner said the $47 million that was donated by Epstein more than a decade ago to a charity established by Wexner’s wife, Abigail, represented a portion of the money Epstein took.
“All of that money — every dollar of it — was originally Wexner family money,” Wexner said in the letter to the Wexner Foundation.
Epstein and Wexner had long business ties that date back to the mid-1980s.
By 2007, it was agreed that he should step back from managing the Wexner’s finances.
“In that process, we discovered that he had misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family,” Wexner said.
“This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now. With his credibility and our trust in him destroyed, we immediately severed ties with him. We were able to recover some of the funds.”
Epstein for years was a Wexner financial adviser and in 1998 was identified as president — along with Wexner — of the New Albany Co. in Ohio business records. Epstein owned land in the New Albany development, including a home on King George Drive that he owned from 1994 until selling it for $0 to the Wexners in December 2007, shortly before he donated money to Abigail Wexner’s YLK foundation.
He also became a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, but had no had no executive responsibilities for running it, Wexner said.
Epstein, 66, is a registered sex offender who was convicted of state prostitution charges in Florida in a plea deal in 2008 and served more than a year in a county jail after authorities said he paid numerous underage girls for sex.
He is now facing new charges in New York accusing him of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005 by enticing them to engage in sex acts for money.
In the letter, Wexner acknowledged that he gave Epstein power of attorney and, with it, with wide latitude to act on his behalf.
The $47 million was the only donation to the YLK Foundation that was set up in December 2007, The Dispatch reported last month. The foundation was shut down in 2010 and the remaining $33 million was transferred to the Wexner charity.