Bill Gates Admits Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein Was a 'Huge Mistake'
Billionaire confesses that he appeared to 'forgive that type of behavior'
Billionaire Bill Gates has admitted that his relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was a "huge mistake."
Speaking during a new interview with UK newspaper The Times on Sunday, Gates confesses that his friendship with child sex trafficker Epstein appeared to "forgive that type of behavior."
The Microsoft co-founder, 65, first met Epstein in 2011 - after the financier had been convicted and jailed for sexually abusing children in 2008.
Epstein was also invited as a VIP guest to fundraising dinners that promoted the Gates Foundation.
"At the time, I didn't realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility," Gates told The Times.
"You're almost saying, 'I forgive that type of behavior,' or something."
"So clearly the way it's seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that," he added.
The dinners were a point of contention between the Microsoft billionaire and his now ex-wife and business partner, Melinda French Gates, who described Epstein as "evil personified."
The couple announced their separation last year after 27 years of marriage.
In earlier interviews, Gates stated how he ultimately stopped meetings with the convicted sex offender after he realized the meetings would not be productive for his philanthropic foundation.
"I had dinners with him," Gates said in a September 2021 interview.
"I regret doing that.
"He had relationships he said with people he said would give to public health.
"Not nearly enough philanthropy goes in that direction."
"Those meetings were a mistake," he said to PBS.
"They didn't result in what he purported, and I cut them off.
"You know, that goes back a long time ago now."
The billionaire has previously claimed he had concerns about Epstein, who had pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute - years before the tech mogul met the financier.
"I had several dinners with him hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts he had might emerge," Gates said.
"When it looked like that wasn't a real thing that relationship ended.
"It was a huge mistake to spend time with him and give him the credibility of being there.
"There were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake."
In her first interview since her divorce from the billionaire last year, Melinda told CBS Mornings in March that she insisted on meeting Epstein back in 2011 because she wanted to see "who this man was."
"I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein," she said.
"I made that clear to him. I also met Jeffrey Epstein exactly one time.
"I wanted to see who this man was and I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door.
"He was abhorrent, evil personified.
"I had nightmares about it afterward.
"That's why my heart breaks for these young women.
"That's how I felt, and I am an older woman. He was awful."
She told how Bill had to answer for the many times he met Epstein and even suggested that it may have contributed to the divorce.
"It was not one thing, it was many things [that led to the divorce]," Melinda said.
"Any of the questions remaining about what Bill's relationship with him was... those are for Bill to answer.
"I made it very clear how I felt about him."
A spokesperson for Gates told Insider last June that Gates had "absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship" with Epstein, and any meetings between the two were about "philanthropy."