The specifics of Bill Gates’ relationship with Jeffrey Epstein have been an open question since details about their ties were revealed in 2019. In 2022, Gates’ ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, revealed that her then-husband’s relationship with the child predator financier even contributed to their divorce.
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal shed new light on their dynamic, revealing that Epstein once threatened to reveal Gates’ affair with a Russian bridge player named Mila Antonova.
According to the report, Gates met Antonova in 2010. Three years later, Epstein paid for Antonova’s coding school tuition. Then, four years after that he emailed Gates asking for reimbursement for Antonova’s tuition after Gates declined to put money into a multibillion-dollar charitable fund that Epstein was trying to create at JP Morgan. The implication of the request for reimbursement was that if Gates didn’t maintain a relationship with Epstein, the registered sex offender would reveal the affair.
Antonova explained to the Journal that Epstein paid for her tuition after declining to invest in a bridge business that she was attempting to start. When she couldn’t raise enough money, she decided to go to a coding boot camp instead and reached out to people she knew to ask for loans.
“Epstein agreed to pay and he paid directly to the school. Nothing was exchanged. I don’t know why he did that,” she told the paper. “When I asked, he said something like, he was wealthy and wanted to help people when he could.”
A Gates spokesperson told the Journal, “Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates.”