Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime companion of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Wednesday, charged with sex crimes against minors and purgery. Accusers say she was instrumental in helping find and groom underage girls for Epstein’s to have sex with.
Maxwell’s whereabouts have been unknown for some time, but according to News 4 the FBI told them that the British heiress and socialite was arrested in New Hampshire on charges related to Epstein, and will make an appearance in federal court Thursday.
Maxwell is charged on six counts of facilitating sex with minors and lying about it, according to the FBI indictment.
Epstein killed himself in a jail cell last July after being arrested on federal charges for sex acts with minors, accused of exploiting dozens of underage girls in the late nineties and early 2000s. Many well-known and powerful men orbited Epstein’s circles, including Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Here is what you need to know about Ghislaine Maxwell:
1. Maxwell Grew Up The Youngest of 9 Siblings Whose Father Was a Media Mogul in the U.K.
Maxwell is the daughter of publishing and media mogul Robert Maxwell, who was a rival of Rupert Murdoch in Britain’s tabloid market until he took his own life by jumping off of a yacht named for his daughter, the Lady Ghislaine, in 1991, according to Town N’ Country.
The magazine reports that the elder Maxwell had overextended on his finances and his empire had gotten to the point of collapse, but Ghislaine never believed her father killed himself and later autopsies showed his cause of death was heart attack along with drowning.
Ghislaine was the youngest of nine siblings. Her mother, Elisabeth Maxwell, became a Holocaust expert after Robert died. Most of his family was killed in the Holocaust but he made it to England and joined the British army before building his media empire, according to Business Insider.
Two of the siblings died, the Tatler reported in 2000, but the rest have gone on to various types of successes.
2. Maxwell Lived as a Socialite & Met Epstein in New York in the Early 1990s
After her father’s death when Maxwell was 30, she moved to Manhattan’s Upper East Side and began working in real estate.
According to Time, Maxwell met Epstein in New York in the early 1990s and it was she who “introduced Epstein to a number of her powerful friends including Prince Andrew,” Time reported.
Maxwell was living off a trust fund set up by her father which allotted her about $100,000 a year, according to the New York Post.
But she didn’t stay put. Maxwell was a world traveler.
A long time acquaintance of Maxwell told Town N’ Country, “She was a big part of the jet-set. I would see her in St. Barth’s, on Paul Allen’s yacht“—the Octopus, an infamous 414-foot floating pleasure palace then owned by the late Microsoft co-founder—“and at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party in New York.”
Maxwell is described as “friendly, chatty, and part of a fashionable clique,'” according to Business Insider.
3. Epstein and Maxwell’s Long Relationship Was Not Well-Defined
While Maxwell and Epstein seemed somehow co-dependent for decades, they were not officially a couple. According to The Guardian, a journalist named Conchita Sarnoff knew the pair from social circles. Sarnoff said of Maxwell: “She seemed in love when I first saw them together. I believe Jeffrey was taking care of her. I feel Ghislaine clung to Jeffrey because she felt protected by him.” She says Epstein, “seemed less in love but more enamored.”
For years though, they were in each other’s lives. Vanity Fair reported in 2003 that Maxwell got her helicopter’s license so she could fly people to Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean. In that inverview Epstein described Maxwell as his “best friend.” He said he did not pay her, but the magazine reported “she seems to organize much of his life.”
According to the warrant for Maxwell’s arrest, from 1994 to 1997, Epstein and Maxwell were in an “intimate relationship” and during those years he paid her to manage his “various properties.”
4. Accusers Say Maxwell Recruited and Groomed Them For Sex Acts With Epstein While They Were Underage
One accuser, Virginia Giuffre, wrote on her Instagram page, “Pursuit of justice doesn’t stop with Epstein-the elites who trafficked me and so many others are going down-the house of cards will begin to fall.”
Dozens of women who were involved with Epstein in the 1990s and early 2000s have come forward saying that it was Maxwell who started chatting them up, offering them good-paying jobs; possibly paying for their schooling.
According to the indictment, Maxwell would spend time with the girls by taking them shopping or to the movies. Then after the girls felt safe she would bring them to one of Epstein’s mansions and show them how Epstein liked to be massaged.
That’s where it turned sexual.
The indictment says some of the girls were as young as 14 and both Maxwell and Epstein were fully aware of that.
Vanity Fair reported in 2019 :
A source close to Maxwell says she spoke glibly and confidently about getting girls to sexually service Epstein, saying this was simply what he wanted, and describing the way she’d drive around to spas and trailer parks in Florida to recruit them. She would claim she had a phone job for them, “and you’ll make lots of money, meet everyone, and I’ll change your life.” The source continues, “Ghislaine was in love with Jeffrey the way she was in love with her father. She always thought if she just did one more thing for him, to please him, he would marry her.”
Maxwell had one other thing to tell this woman: “When I asked what she thought of the underage girls, she looked at me and said, ‘they’re nothing, these girls. They are trash.’”
5. The FBI Says Maxwell Lied Under Oath as Recently as 2016 About Her Involvement With Epstein’s Sexual Life
Maxwell was made to testify about the accusations of her involvement in procuring young girls for Epstein in 2016. According to the indictment, Maxwell denied knowing of any sex toys Epstein may have had or used, though accusers say that vibrators and sex toys were used when they were assaulted by Epstein and that sometimes those sex toys were introduced by Maxwell.
Maxwell also denied having any knowledge of Epstein having sex with anyone at all outside of herself and a couple of consensual, legal, threesomes. She also denied ever having massaged Epstein or massaging a minor girl, as she is accused.
Maxwell is charged with enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual acts, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual acts, and two counts of perjury.