Bill Gates has been grilled about his connection to billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in an awkward interview while visiting Australia.
The world’s sixth richest man, who has given billions to charity, is in the country talking about global issues such climate change and artificial intelligence.
Appearing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 program on Monday night, host Sarah Ferguson put it to Gates: ‘One of issues that has dogged you is your relationship to Epstein.’
‘Do you regret the relationship that you maintained with him against (ex-wife) Melinda’s advice and wishes?’ she asked.
A somewhat taken aback Gates replied: ‘You’re going way back… but I will say for the over a hundredth time that, yeah, I shouldn’t have had dinners with him.’
Software pioneer Bill Gates was grilled in an interview on Monday night over his links to dead billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein
His ex-wife Melinda Gates (pictured together) had reportedly taken an immediate dislike to Epstein and warned Bill to stay away from him
According to the New York Times, Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions from 2011.
Three years earlier Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida and accusations he exploited dozens more girls and young women were by then widely reported in the press.
In September 2013, Bill and his then wife Melinda Gates met with Epstein at his Upper East Side mansion in New York and she immediately disliked him, reported The Daily Beast.
She then told friends that he made her uncomfortable and warned her husband to stay away from him.
On Monday night’s interview, Ferguson continued to push the topic, saying: ‘Epstein had a way of sexually compromising people.
‘Is that what Melinda was warning you about?’
Gates stumbled a bit in his response.
‘No. I mean, uh … no… I had dinner with him, and that’s all.’
‘And that you regret the acquittance?’
‘That I had dinner with him, yes.’
Ferguson (pictured) pushed the topic despite Gates saying she was ‘going along way back’ and he had already answered those questions
Epstein (left) was found dead in his jail cell in 2019 after being arrested on charges of sex trafficking minors. His associate Ghislaine Maxwell (right) is serving a 20 year prison sentence for sex trafficking minors and other charges
Ferguson then asked if he regretted any link between Epstein and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the vehicle through which he carries out his philanthropic efforts.
‘There never was any relationship of any kind,’ he responded.
The pair’s meetings seem to have fizzled by 2014, with the New York Times noting the financier had complained to friends by that point that Gates had stopped speaking to him.
Epstein was later arrested in July 2019 on US federal charges of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York but committed suicide in his cell a month later before the case could go before a court.
Epstein was reportedly brought into the software mogul’s orbit by mutual friend Dr. Melanie S. Walker.
The glamorous neurosurgeon met Epstein in 1992 after she had just graduated from university and was sightseeing in New York City. It was reported that Epstein approached her at the Plaza Hotel alongside Donald Trump.
Walker later went on to marry former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky and eventually, Walker would join the Gates Foundation as a senior program officer.
Walker met Epstein just after she graduated college in 1992. She moved to New York and stayed at a Manhattan apartment that Epstein owned after Epstein told her he could get her an audition for a modeling job with Victoria’s Secret. Pictured: Dr. Melanie Walker
At the foundation, Walker became friends with Boris Nikolic, who was the organization’s science adviser.
Nikolic was known as a man who traveled and socialized frequently with Gates.
Walker, who kept in touch with Epstein, introduced him to Nikolic, and the two became friends.
It was Boris Nikolic, who later introduced Epstein to Gates.
A picture from one of the 2011 meetings at his Manhattten townhouse shows Epstein, Gates, Nikolic, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, and James Staley, who at that point an executive with JPMorgan.
Around that time the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan began discussions about creating a global charity that would fund health care projects in poor countries.
Staley reportedly told JPMorgan colleagues that Epstein wanted to be involved in the venture.
Epstein held sway with JPMorgan since he had millions of dollars parked in accounts with the investment bank, according to the Times.
He also referred a number of wealthy people who would become clients of JPMorgan, the Times reported.
Epstein wanted to pitch in to the idea. He reportedly proposed that he would solicit donations from his wealthy friends, but that he would receive a 0.3 per cent commission of whatever amount of money he raised.
The Times reported Gates was unaware Epstein was looking to profit from the charity and that teams from the foundation met with him and found his claims to be unrealistic and began to doubt his credibility.
The joint charitable fund never eventuated.