The high-profile ties of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein have resurfaced following his reported arrest on suspicion of sex trafficking on Saturday in New York City.
Epstein, who rose to prominence in the finance sector of his native New York City, emerged in the early 2000s as a self-described "collector" of famous and powerful friends.
Multiple profiles and reports from over the years detailed Epstein's active philanthropy and social life that kept him among the ranks of New York's elite. One such report detailed his financing of travel to Africa with former President Bill Clinton and actor Kevin Spacey.
Epstein's private plane took President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Chris Tucker to Africa to tour HIV/AIDS project sites, New York Magazine said in 2002, citing Page Six.
This was one instance of Epstein getting friendly with Clinton, as the former president would take several flights on Epstein's private plane in 2002 and 2003, according to logs obtained by Gawker in 2015.
Clinton lauded Epstein to New York Magazine as "a committed philanthropist" and said he enjoyed Epstein's "insights and generosity" during the trip.
"Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science," Clinton said through a spokesman. "I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS."
The meeting seemed to be by design, as Epstein said in 2002 that his elite social circle was a "collection" that he invested in.
"I invest in people, be it politics or science," Epstein said. "It's what I do."
Clinton wasn't the only president who has been friendly with Epstein. Donald Trump, who at the time was a prominent New York-based real estate developer, gushed to the magazine about Epstein, who he mentioned liked women "on the younger side."
"I've known Jeff for fifteen years," Trump told the magazine at the time. "Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."
Trump's comment came around the same time prosecutors allege Epstein routinely abused young girls.
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