John Lamparski/Getty Images, Associated Press
It was the first time Gates has spoken publicly on his relationship to Epstein since a New York Times report last month revealed that the Microsoft cofounder met with Epstein multiple times despite his past.
Gates said he thought affiliating with Epstein would encourage the financier to commit money to global health initiatives, but that the money never materialized.
Bill Gates apologized on Wednesday for his association with financier Jeffrey Epstein, making his first public statements since news surfaced that he had met with Epstein, a convicted sex offender, more often than previously believed.
“I made a mistake in judgment in thinking those discussions would go to global health … that money never appeared,” Gates said during a panel discussion hosted by The New York Times Dealbook series.
“And I gave him benefit of my association,” Gates said.
The Microsoft cofounder has maintained that he believed meeting with Epstein would lead to investments in charities supported by Gates, who along with his wife, runs one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates had previously waffled on his association with Epstein. In September, he distanced himself from Epstein, telling The Wall Street Journal that he “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”
But a New York Times investigation published in October found that Gates met with Epstein multiple times after Epstein’s conviction in 2011, including at least three meetings at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse. Following the publication of that story, a spokesperson for Gates said he regretted the association, but Gates himself hadn’t publicly addressed it until Wednesday afternoon.
Gates isn’t the only tech mogul with ties to Epstein — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk each met with Epstein at least once, years after after Epstein was convicted.
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