Bill Gates on Monday said he regrets maintaining a relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein against his former wife’s advice.
“You’re going way back in time,” he told Australia’s ABC 7.30 show. “I will say for the over 100th time, yeah, I shouldn’t have had dinners with him.”
Pressed by ABC’s Sara Ferguson about whether Melinda French Gates’ distaste for Epstein was related to his ability to sexually compromise people, Gates replied: “No.”
“I had dinner with him and that’s all,” Gates said.
Gates started meeting with Epstein in 2011, when the latter was already convicted of sex crimes and had to register as a sex offender, according to a 2019 report in The New York Times. The two met at least four times, the outlet reported.
French Gates said in March 2022 that she had felt uncomfortable with her ex-husband’s meetings with the disgraced financier.
“He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterward,” French Gates’ told Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” of the one and only time she met Epstein herself.
The couple announced their divorce in 2021 but continued working together as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to improve health care access worldwide. They were married for 27 years.
The Microsoft co-founder told ABC there was never a relationship between the foundation and Epstein.
Gates previously said the purpose of holding meetings with Epstein was to raise money for global health.
“I didn’t realize that in meeting with him almost downplayed the incredibly awful things he did,” he told NBC’s “Today” show last year.
Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell in 2019 while he was awaiting trial over charges of sex trafficking underage girls. The New York medical examiner’s office confirmed his cause of death was officially determined to be suicide.