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He started out at the firm as an assistant to a floor trader, and soon began working with wealthy clients on bigger projects that sought an edge in esoteric markets, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. But Epstein's accumulated knowledge of the U. By , he was named a limited partner and as one of the company's top executives, entitled to a bigger share of Bear's bonus pool, then among the biggest on Wall Street. These year-end payouts were worth multiple millions of dollars and would make Epstein a rich man just a few years after leaving Dalton and his skimpy teacher's salary.

The guy was a genius. This executive said Epstein's sex life was never an issue at the firm, but something else was. Just one year after making it big at Bear, he left, albeit quietly. The senior executive said Epstein "left at our invitation Even inside Bear — a place that accepted sharp elbows — Epstein was seen as controversial. He clashed with some of the firm's partners and was said to stretch various trading and investing rules. Despite reports over the years that Epstein was embroiled in an investing dispute, the executive insisted the incident that eventually triggered his ouster from Bear involved a significant expense account violation concerning an airline ticket that upper management was misled about.

The executive declined to elaborate, and Epstein's attorney didn't return a call for comment. Not all of Bear's management wanted him out. So while Epstein's infraction was enough to get him booted as an employee of Bear, he maintained his relationships with top executives at the firm for the next plus years.

Those relationships were so strong that years later when Epstein began to make a name for himself, and reporters began to question why he left the firm, Bear officials said it was because he wanted to start his own money management firm. That money-management business, contrary to many media reports, was not a hedge fund, which is essentially a mutual fund that is allowed to take more risk because it caters to wealthy individuals.

Operating a hedge fund would have been beneath Epstein because it would have forced him to go out on client pitches and beg for business, people who know him say.

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Another drawback: Such investments are loosely regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and would have opened Epstein, a temperamentally secretive man, to a high degree of scrutiny Epstein has been called many things since his conviction but he has been known to remark that being referred to as a hedge fund manager is among the worst, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Either way, Epstein brushed aside his issues at Bear, and went to work building a money-management business. He fancied himself as a free-wheeling investment adviser and banker for select clients, people familiar with him say. His investment activities were barely mentioned in the press during these years, and Epstein liked it this way.

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His main money management firm, Financial Trust Co. By most accounts, Epstein met Wexner sometime after he left Bear when he was snooping for rich clients in Palm Beach, Florida, the home and second home of numerous millionaires and billionaires Palm beach would later become Epstein's own second home when he achieved similar income and status. Former Bear Stearns executives recall that Epstein spent the vast majority of his time when he dealt with the firm working on Wexner matters; he frequently traded on behalf of Wexner and The Limited through Bear's block-trading desk, an area of the firm that specialized in larger orders for Bear's best customers.

Epstein also used the firm's research in his investment ideas, former executives say a spokesman for Wexner declined to comment, but would not deny the matter. Epstein's wealth was clearly growing, albeit quietly. He was now easily a multimillionaire on his way to earning many millions more, and became a high-net-worth client of Bear Stearns' brokerage operations. Instead of Epstein cold-calling rich people hawking trading ideas, he was on the receiving end of the pitch. It was around this time that Epstein developed another significant business relationship: This one with Steven Hoffenberg, the flamboyant head of Towers Financial Co.

An association with Towers was an odd fit for a man eventually associated with Harvard academics and big-time financiers like Wexner. Towers was a pedestrian bill-collecting company that during the mids takeover mania morphed into a second-tier corporate raider with the help of Epstein, Hoffenberg told FOX Business. Hoffenberg said that he and Epstein were partners for about eight years, and did some of their takeover business with the assistance of people at Bear Stearns, though "not a lot. At his core, Epstein has no moral compass.

He has no moral compass, whether it comes to money or little girls. In an interview, Hoffenberg described Epstein as his "co-conspirator" in that theft. He said he fired Epstein in the early s because "he was stealing too much. I couldn't supervise him. Epstein was not charged in the case. After leaving prison, Hoffenberg sued Epstein for his alleged role in Towers' fraud.

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The lawsuit was dismissed. When asked if he is currently cooperating with federal authorities as they dig deeper into Epstein's private and business life, Hoffenberg said: "I wish I could tell you. The s were a glorious time to be Jeffrey Epstein, as the financier easily moved on from Hoffenberg as if his relationship with the convicted con man never happened. His job description, according to press reports, was "President of the Wexner Companies," and by now Wexner was a super-rich American businessman and philanthropist worth more than a billion dollars.

This relationship would confer both wealth and prestige on Epstein, who immersed himself in Wexner's private and professional lives. He bought a home in Columbus, Ohio, where Wexner's companies were headquartered and began managing not just Wexner's vast wealth, but also various charities and some personal affairs. Epstein also knew how to buy some of his high-powered connections. It would be the start of a long and somewhat controversial relationship with the university that allowed Epstein not just to put a positive spin on his wealth, but created an air of respectability with major players in politics and public policy.

Epstein soon joined the Council on Foreign Relations, a prestigious think tank with members plucked from the top of academia and finance, and affixed himself to Rockefeller University's board of Trustees in , touted by the college in a press release that described Epstein's academic credentials as having "studied physics at Cooper Union. But it was an association with Harvard that Epstein showed the most passion for. During the s, Epstein plowed millions of dollars to fund various projects sponsored by the school, mainly in math and the sciences, and could be seen roaming around on or near the campus dressed casually in jeans and a Harvard hoodie.

Epstein established his own office just off campus, which served as a base of operations for his Harvard activities, including what has been described as a mini-lecture series where he invited school faculty to discuss various public policy and scientific matters, Dershowitz told FOX Business. A spokeswoman for Summers confirmed that he had participated in what she described as "Harvard sponsored" discussions that Epstein hosted. A spokesman for Gergen had no comment. Harvard declined to comment. Dershowitz said he met Epstein through a mutual friend in the mids and the relationship, as described by Dershowitz himself, was formed over discussions about weighty intellectual matters but morphed into a more professional connection.

In addition to his work as a practicing lawyer and Harvard professor, Dershowitz is a well-known public intellectual who has authored 40 books of both fiction and non-fiction, many of them making best seller lists.

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He said he was so impressed with Epstein's raw intellect that he had him provide a pre-publication critique of a couple of his books over the years. Later, Epstein would turn to Dershowitz as a key member of the legal team that crafted the plea deal in for the sex crime. Dershowitz has denied the matter and says he has evidence to back up his innocence. Looking back on those years, Dershowitz described Epstein this way: "He was brilliant," he said, adding that the notion Epstein's private life involved sex with young girls would have shocked the growing list of power players in the Harvard orbit Epstein associated with.

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It's unclear how exactly Epstein's Harvard ties helped him in the financial business, but they certainly didn't hurt. He continued to do money-management business using Bear Stearns as his main Wall Street broker, but now his dealings also involved JPMorgan, one of the nation's biggest banks, people at the financial institution told FOX Business.

A spokesman declined to comment, but people there say the relationship ended in Hoffenberg said he believes most of Epstein's clients during this time were wealthy Europeans, while the former Bear executive said he had a number of uber-rich American businessmen seeking Epstein's expertise in tax avoidance. Several of those American businessmen denied having any association with Epstein, even if he was spending money like he was making it in vast quantities. In , Epstein told the New York Times that he had become the owner of Wexner's elegant East 71st Street Manhattan townhouse, which featured a "bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies" that was "hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone.

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Epstein also began to spread money around, politically, contributing tens of thousands of dollars, mostly to prominent Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks donations Schumer has since donated those political contributions to charity, an aide told FOX Business. Another recipient of this largesse was former President Bill Clinton. Epstein had been donating money to the White House Historical Society during the Clinton terms, and the two remained chummy for years, even after the president left office and started his Clinton Foundation charity.

In , the New York Post's widely read Page Six gossip column caught on to the Epstein power scene, reporting that Clinton — out of office less than two years — and actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, accompanied Epstein on his private plane for a trip to Africa, presumably on Clinton Foundation business. Maxwell would figure prominently in Epstein's life for years later. She was said to be Epstein's one-time girlfriend and then long-time associate, and given her vast social network, the person who connected Epstein with various power players such as Prince Andrew and Clinton.

Maxwell was also accused in civil suits of arranging Epstein's trysts with underage girls, charges she has denied. Maxwell has not been charged by state or federal authorities in the matter and she could not be reached for comment. But the Page Six piece brought significant attention to Epstein from the mainstream media in ways he never imagined. The once-secretive Epstein seemed to relish the publicity possibly too much, as reporters for the first time truly began to pry into his business, and now, personal life.


It quoted, almost prophetically, Trump describing Epstein this way: "I've known Jeff for fifteen years. 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. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life. Epstein, in , also cooperated for a piece by Vanity Fair's Vicky Ward. Like the New York Magazine piece, the lengthy profile described Epstein's secretive investment activities and his vast social network, but that's where the similarities end.

Ward began her research into Epstein after the Page Six piece. She suspected Epstein planted the New York Magazine article to blunt some of her own tough reporting that filtered back to Epstein. Ward was skeptical of the breadth of his client list and wealth; her reporting included, for the first time, Epstein's connections to Hoffenberg as well as sordid details of Epstein's personal life that had never been published before. Ward tells FOX Business she obtained fully sourced allegations that Epstein committed sexual assault against one woman and one underage girl.