Mystery over Jeffrey Epstein’s meeting with a Labour minister
A senior Minister in Gordon Brown’s Government arranged a meeting with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein while he was being held under house arrest at the end of an 18-month jail term.
He added that the meeting had been called to discuss “the university system in Great Britain”.
He told the judge: “That individual cannot travel to South Florida. They need to have a hands on meeting. It would be up and back on the same day.”
But Ms Burns added: “Judge, the problem is he is on house arrest, and house arrest is not something that should be bypassed for this type of thing. I can understand why he wants to go to New York because he is helping his attorney on his civil lawsuit, and I don’t have a problem with that because he has to look at exhibits, exhibits that can’t leave New York.
“I do have a problem with him visiting the Foreign Minister from England.”
The judge agreed and dismissed the request and the meeting never took place.
Mystery surrounds who he was due to meet at the on the weekend of the 12 and 13 December 2009.
Officials in the Florida Assistant State Attorneys office says they were never given the name of the British minister. They said they did not inquire further because the meeting had nothing to do with Epstein’s legal case and so his request to travel was therefore deemed to be unacceptable.
Records of the movements of Ministers in the Labour Government have been transferred to the National Archive at Kew and will not be available for public inspection for many years.
Officials at the British Embassy in Washington could find no trace of any Labour Ministers who were due to have been in the US that weekend.
Intriguingly Lord (Digby) Jones, a former trade minister and one-time business adviser to the Duke of York, was engaged on a speaking tour of Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston on Dec 14, 15 and 16 which had been arranged by UK Trade & Investment, the Government’s business promotion arm.
His spokeswoman said Lord Jones had no knowledge of Epstein prior to recent reports and pointed out the cross-bencher had resigned as a minister in 2008, more than a year before Epstein applied for his meeting. He quit as the Duke’s business adviser in 2007 after being appointed a minister for trade.
They maintain that an extraordinary plea agreement struck between prosecutors and defence lawyers in 2008 that saw Epstein escape with just an 18-month sentence in exchange for him pleading to just two charges and them dropping the rest was unlawful.
Epstein appears on sex offender registers in Florida, New York and the Virgin Islands, where he owns homes.
Based on the 2008 case against him, when police and the FBI discovered around 40 under-age girls who were recruited to service Epstein’s sexual desires, some lured to his Palm Beach mansion from a local school, a judge in Manhattan classified him as a Level 3 sex offender.
Level 3 is the most serious ranking on a basic scale of one to three, and is applied to a sex offender considered to pose a “high risk of repeat offence and a threat to public safety”.
Attempts to set up a meeting between Epstein and a representative of the British government even while he was still on probation and under house arrest in November 2009 prompted horror among many familiar with the case.
Spencer Kuvin, one of the Florida lawyers representing Epstein’s victims, said: “The morals of any person meeting with and doing business with a convicted paedophile, while they are still on probation no less, should be questioned. If this meeting was to be with British government officials, they should be ashamed.”