How Ghislaine Maxwell lived a ‘life of privilege’ on the run

British socialite hid at 156-acre property in New Hampshire before her arrest, prosecutors say

Ghislaine Maxwell, British socialite and close friend of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire on Thursday and charged with procuring and transporting minors for sex acts. Video: Reuters

 

Even in hiding, Ghislaine Maxwell lived the high life.

The British socialite, arrested on Thursday for her alleged role in disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring, has been “hiding out in locations in New England” since the now deceased financier’s arrest last July – most recently on a 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire.

“This stunning custom-designed Timber Frame home is an amazing retreat for the nature lover who also wants total privacy,” one website said, describing it as a four-bedroom, four-bath home totaling 4,365 sq ft. Two real estate websites claim this estate sold for $1,070,750.

Ms Maxwell bought the Bradford property last December in an all-cash purchase.

At a press conference, William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the New York FBI office, described the real estate as “a gorgeous property” where she continued to live a “life of privilege” until her arrest at 8.30am on Thursday.

The description of Ms Maxwell’s recent whereabouts and her time on the run is one of several details revealed in prosecutors’ written argument aimed at persuading a judge to detain her pending a trial. If convicted, the 58-year-old Ms Maxwell faces up to 35 years in federal prison.

Ms Maxwell, who was born in France, also has citizenship in the UK and US. She appears to hold passports for these three countries, federal prosecutors wrote.

Travel records indicate that Ms Maxwell has “engaged in frequent international travel, including at least 15 international flights in the last three years to locations including the United Kingdom, Japan, and Qatar”, they also said.

When Ms Maxwell stopped appearing in public, authorities argued, “it appears that she made intentional efforts to avoid detection”. These alleged efforts included “moving locations at least twice, switching her primary phone number (which she registered under the name “G Max”) and email address, and ordering packages for delivery with a different person listed on the shipping label”.

The sprawling property in Bradford where she was arrested was purchased “through a carefully anonymised LLC [limited liability company]d the money to flee if let out on bail, they maintained.

Federal prosecutors said that there were “more than 15 different bank accounts held by or associated with [Ms Maxwell] from 2016 to the present, and during that same period, the total balances of those accounts have ranged from a total of hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $20 million”. During this time, Ms Maxwell would transfer “hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time” between these accounts.

‘Flight risk’

At some point, Ms Maxwell disclosed that as recently as last year, she had one or more foreign bank accounts, with more than $1 million.

The prosecution also maintains that from 2007 to 2011, about $20 million was moved from accounts linked to Epstein, to accounts linked to Maxwell. Some of these transfers were “in the millions of dollars” and “were then subsequently transferred back to accounts associated with Epstein”.

The prosecutors argue that Ms Maxwell’s wealth and behaviour meant that she represented a serious flight risk.

“The strength of the government’s evidence and the substantial prison term the defendant would face upon conviction all create a strong incentive for the defendant to flee. That risk is only amplified by the defendant’s extensive international ties, her citizenship in two foreign countries, her wealth and her lack of meaningful ties to the United States, ” prosecutors wrote.

“In short, Maxwell has three passports, large sums of money, extensive international connections and absolutely no reason to stay in the United States and face the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence.”

The judge in Ms Maxwell’s case onThursday ordered her to the custody of US marshals. – Guardian

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