On August 18, after being fired from Bear Stearns, Jeffrey Epstein launches his own consulting firm, Intercontinental Assets Group Inc (IAG). The name is fitting because Epstein and his company specialize in transnational crime and government assets — money and people.
Epstein was fired from Bear Stearns for selling lucrative investments without registering the sells with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That’s his version of the story. The truth is that whatever he was doing reeked so heavily of criminality that the firm couldn’t be publicly associated with him moving forward.
IAG is marketed as a company that assists clients in recovering stolen money from fraudulent brokers and lawyers, and Epstein describes himself as a high-level bounty hunter. In private, Epstein tells friends that his clients include wealthy elites trying to recover embezzled funds, elites who get rich by embezzling funds, and governments.
By the mid-1980s, Epstein is making multiple trips from the US to countries in Europe and Southwest Asia. He continues to tell friends he works with governments, but his bragging includes new claims and evidence to support them. Epstein says he works for the CIA, and he carries an Austrian passport with a fake name and a Saudi address.
During one of his trips abroad, Epstein meets Steven Hoffenberg, a wealthy criminal and former owner of the New York Post who will later hire Epstein to help him in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. They’re introduced by US defense contractor Douglas Leese and John Mitchell, a former US Attorney General who went to prison for crimes committed in Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Leese is one of many weapons dealers making friends with Epstein.
[Epstein] has a license to carry a concealed weapon, once claimed to have worked for the CIA although he now denies it – and owns properties all over America.
Once he arrived at the London home of a British arms dealer bringing a gift — a New York Police-issue pump-action riot gun. ‘God knows how he got it into the country,’ a friend said.Evening Standard, January 22, 2001
One of Epstein’s new clients is Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who is currently smuggling weapons from Israel to Iran on behalf of the Reagan administration (the Iran-Contra affair). In his free time, Khashoggi and his brother sell surveillance yachts to other organized crime figures, like Donald Trump.
At some point in this story, likely before 1988, Jeffrey Epstein begins a professional relationship with another one of Khashoggi’s associates. He’s a wealthy publisher, a UK politician, an Israeli intelligence agent, and an associate of the soon-to-be most dangerous organized crime boss in the world (Semion Mogilevich). You might call the man an “Intercontinental Asset,” like Epstein. His name is Robert Maxwell, and his daughter’s name is Ghislaine.
We don’t know when Epstein meets Robert Maxwell or who introduces them, but multiple sources claim that Maxwell introduces Epstein to Ghislaine in London in 1988.
Multiple sources on investigative reporter Julie K. Brown’s podcast have said that, although it was previously reported the dastardly duo met after Robert’s death, they were introduced in 1988 by Robert, who thought Epstein could take “emotional” care of his adored youngest daughter.New York Post
We do know that in the late 1940s, Robert Maxwell was likely a Russian asset while working for Soviet allies in Israel. We know that he most likely joined Mossad after the Israeli intelligence agency was formed in 1949 — and that Ari Ben-Menashe later takes credit for being Maxwell’s and Epstein’s handler.
We know that Maxwell has the power to authorize Israeli passports, which he does for transnational crime boss and sex trafficker Semion Mogilevich in the late ’80s. That’s around the same time that (1) Maxwell invites Donald Trump to his Khashoggi yacht, (2) Trump helps a Mogilevich associate with money laundering, and (3) Epstein meets Trump for the first time.
And we know that Robert Maxwell is at least partially responsible for Epstein’s cozy finances, according to the sworn testimony of an accountant on the inside of his sex trafficking network.
If Maxwell and Epstein meet in the late ’80s, then Maxwell may be just a middle man between Epstein and another financier. Maxwell is struggling to keep his companies afloat when he drowns in 1991. If Maxwell doesn’t enrich Epstein himself, then whose money does he use? He might be transferring funds from Israel, Saudi Arabia, or a transnational organized crime group…
Then again, maybe Robert Maxwell isn’t involved financially at all. Maybe the story is designed by Epstein and Ghislaine — something believable to tell their associates and direct attention away from the true founders of their operation. We may never know.
In 1986, Epstein meets insurance executive Robert Meister on a flight from New York to Palm Beach and charms him. Shortly after, Meister introduces him to Leslie “Les” Wexner, the chairman and CEO of The Limited (later renamed L Brands) and Victoria’s Secret. Wexner makes Epstein his primary financial adviser within a year and considers him his closest confidant, baffling others around him.
Robert Morosky, who had been the vice chairman of The Limited, was surprised Mr. Wexner took to Mr. Epstein so readily. “Everyone was mystified as to what his appeal was,” Mr. Morosky said. “I checked around and found out he was a private high school math teacher [hired by former US intelligence agent Donald Barr], and that was all I could find out. There was just nothing there.”The New York Times
Epstein’s 1987 work in the US extends beyond Wexner. He’s also hired by Hoffenberg, the former New York Post owner he met through Leese and Mitchell, as a consultant for the Towers Financial Corporation. Hoffenberg sets him up with nice offices and a $25,000 per month salary. Over the next few months, Epstein and Hoffenberg turn Towers — a collection agency for medical and other debt — into a vehicle for corporate raiding, the process of buying majority control of a company and dismantling it for profit.
In November 1988, Epstein launches his own financial firm, J. Epstein & Company, and leaves Towers Financial months later. He tells friends and associates that his firm only manages accounts worth more than $1 billion, but that’s just talk. His only known billionaire client is Les Wexner, who the general public will later believe to be the original source of Epstein’s wealth.
Epstein does more than just manage Wexner’s finances, though. Before the decade’s end, they buy property together in New York — including the infamous Epstein mansion on East 71st Street — and start a company together in New Albany, Ohio. The full extent of their business in the ’80s is a mystery, like most aspects of Epstein’s early empire.
Epstein later renames his firm Financial Trust Company and moves it to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the location’s shadowy tax advantages. Financial Trust Company is also the original name of a Canadian company directed by an Anne R. Dubin, who shares the same last name as ’90s Epstein friend Glenn Dubin.
This has been an overview of Epstein’s life in the ’80s. Events after (and some events during) this decade will have their own posts on Trump File.