Bill Gates is in the news because earlier this week, after 27 years of marriage, his wife Melinda filed for divorce.
The news got all kinds of people talking about Bill Gates. To my surprise, his name has popped up again and again in TrueHoop’s ongoing investigation of Epstein’s ties to Apollo Global and the NBA. Rooted in Drexel Burnham Lambert, Apollo has become the NBA’s most important source of cash.
Of particular interest: Epstein and Gates both have had ties to the current leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Microsoft’s IPO made Bill Gates one of the richest Americans. One of the main banks with which he did this is Alex. Brown, whose then head was A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard. Buzzy later became an executive at the CIA, and is now on the board of Apollo Global, "which is undergoing profound change following the revelation of its founder's relationship with sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein."
A Seattle Times story describes the convicted felon, Robert Evans, who, at the time, invested much of Bill Gates’ portfolio. It’s a story of leverage: Evans reportedly got to decide which large bank handled Gates’ routine sales—reportedly about a million shares per quarter—of Microsoft stock. In exchange, he expected to get in on the hottest initial public offerings the banks have to offer. “Buzzy” Krongard’s Alex. Brown was one of Evans’ most frequent partners.
A New Yorker profile of Gates includes a quote from an unnamed competitor: “I think the guy is truly dangerous. Bill is the most surprisingly conscience-free individual I’ve ever met, and that amount of power in the hands of a guy without a conscience is dangerous.”
Bill and Melinda Gates were married in Hawaii.
Melanie Walker reportedly met Jeffrey Epstein in the early 1990s, when he offered to get her a Victoria’s Secret audition. Later she became a neuroscientist and a scientific advisor to first Epstein and later the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2000, Walker reportedly attended Prince Andrew’s 40th birthday party, thrown by the Queen at Windsor Castle, with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
Deidre Stratton worked at Epstein’s notorious Zorro Ranch, and she told a podcast, Epstein: Devil in the Darkness, that Andrew was “kept company” by the woman for three days when he stayed at the ranch on his own. … Epstein was not there, but he arranged for Andrew to be accompanied by the young medic, according to the former housekeeper. Stratton said: “At the time, Jeffrey had this, she supposedly was a neurosurgeon, quite young, beautiful, young and brilliant, and she stayed in the home with him... At one point we had all these different teas and you could pick the teas that you wanted and she asked me to find one that would make Andrew more horny.”
Nigel Rosser of the Evening Standard wrote about Prince Andrew’s fascination with Ghislaine Maxwell, and Maxwell’s unusual partnership with Jeffrey Epstein. Rosser reported that Epstein “has made many millions out of his business links with the likes of Bill Gates”:
Epstein was a guest at the Queen's birthday party at Windsor and travelled with Ghislaine to Andrew's country weekend at Sandringham before Christmas. He has made many millions out of his business links with the likes of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner, whose trust he runs.
Prince Andrew's friends can only speculate what Epstein gains from his association with British royals but clearly it can do no harm to his business reputation in New York.
(This report has evidently gone missing from the Evening Standard’s website.)
In 2006 Melanie Walker joined the faculty of the University of Washington. As of May, 2021, she is reportedly married to one of Bill Gates’ longtime, most trusted Microsoft colleagues, Steven Sinofsky. It’s unclear when the wedding was, but some reports attach her moving to Seattle to her relationship with Sinofsky.
Bill Gates founded a “mysterious” new entity which at one point was called BCG3, and later Gates Ventures.
In June, Epstein began to serve about a year in prison after a plea agreement stemming from an investigation based on the testimony of many underaged girls in Florida.
As reported in The New York Times, Gates visited Epstein’s residence in New York City on January 31. “His lifestyle is very different,” Gates writes of Epstein in an email to colleagues, “and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.” Later a Gates spokesperson claims Gates was referring to the house’s decor. Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin and her 15-year-old daughter were at dinner. “A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late,” added Gates.
Shortly thereafter, Epstein and Gates were reportedly deep in conversation at TED Long Beach.
On May 3, Gates was photographed at Epstein’s mansion with JP Morgan executive James E. Staley, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Jeffrey Epstein, and Boris Nikolic. Nikolic, at the time, was a science advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation who had reportedly become friends with Epstein after being introduced by Walker.
Following that, Gates Foundation teams reportedly visited Epstein’s mansion twice more, to discuss a potential Global Health Investment Fund.
“Microsoft staff stunned” that Steven Sinofsky, expected to be Microsoft’s next CEO, stepped down.
Gates flew from Teterboro to Palm Beach on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane in March.
In September, Gates and Nikolic were in New York to visit a medical company Gates had invested in. Gates and Epstein reportedly had dinner.
Mohammed bin Salman—then a local official—has his MiSK Foundation launch the Tweeps Forum, an annual networking event that includes Ivanka Trump, top officials from the United Arab Emirates, and Twitter executives.
Epstein appeared to serve as an intermediary between the lab and other wealthy donors, soliciting millions of dollars in donations from individuals and organizations, including the technologist and philanthropist Bill Gates and the investor Leon Black. According to the records obtained by The New Yorker and accounts from current and former faculty and staff of the media lab, Epstein was credited with securing at least $7.5 million in donations for the lab, including two million dollars from Gates and $5.5 million from Black, gifts the e-mails describe as “directed” by Epstein or made at his behest. …
In October, 2014, the Media Lab received a two-million-dollar donation from Bill Gates; Ito wrote in an internal e-mail, “This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein.” Cohen replied, “For gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey’s name as the impetus for this gift.”
Bill Gates reportedly rented the super yacht “Serene,” off the coast of Sardinia, for $5 million a week.
Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman purchased Serene.
U.S. investigators notify Twitter that some of its employees have been cultivated as agents of the Saudi government, for instance supplying personal information of Saudi dissidents. As Twitter investigates, one of the employees moves to Saudi Arabia and begins work at the MiSK Foundation. The New York Times:
According to court documents, the Saudi official who developed the Twitter employees was the “secretary general” of a charitable organization owned by a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family. That description pointed to the MiSK Foundation, a technology-focused nonprofit founded by Prince Mohammed.
Donald Trump was elected. His first visit would be to Saudi Arabia, where he touted enormous defense contracts with the kingdom.
Bill Gates visited Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, and gave a speech that said: “I’m excited about this initiative because I love challenging young people to solve very tough problems, and pursue their dreams. I know that’s an aspiration I share with the Crown Prince.”
Mohammed bin Salman’s foundation becomes a member of the MIT Media Lab consortium—which will soon undergo changes because of Epstein ties. In a press release MiSK says “By becoming a MIT Media Lab member, the MiSK Foundation joins a network of over 80 member companies and organizations … these include MiSK’s partners such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…”
Mohammed bin Salman visited Gates’ home in Washington. In the book MBS, by Ben Hubbard, MBS is quoted saying he wants to be a disruptive leader like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates.
Also that year, journalist James B. Stewart visited Jeffrey Epstein at his house in Manhattan, and wrote:
Before we left the room [Epstein] took me to a wall covered with framed photographs. He pointed to a full-length shot of a man in traditional Arab dress. “That’s MBS,” he said, referring to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The crown prince had visited him many times, and they spoke often, Epstein said.
In November, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was captured, assassinated, and carved to pieces in Istanbul. In November the CIA would report that MBS had ordered the assassination, a conclusion that was affirmed by a four-page report released by the Director of National Intelligence in 2021. Two of those reportedly responsible for the murder were among MBS’s personal security detail.
Later, Donald Trump reportedly bragged that MBS was going to get in trouble for the episode but Trump “saved his ass.”
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine suggested the killers may have been trained by a U.S. private military contractor called Tier One, whose main investor is Trump intelligence appointee and donor Stephen Feinberg. Feinberg worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert with the founders of Apollo Global.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reveals that it has suspended future work with the MiSK Foundation because of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Jeffrey Epstein was arrested.
Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab, resigned from MIT and a number of other boards and positions over his ties to Epstein.
More recently, Saudi Arabia’s sports-centric lobbying offensive has been the result of an urgent need for the kingdom to rebrand itself following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was reportedly killed and dismembered with a bone-saw. Saudi’s attorney general later stated that the murder was premeditated, and the CIA concluded that Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder.
In light of Saudi’s recent diplomatic controversy, the kingdom has doubled down on its lobbying strategy, which, according to recently released documents, included meetings and business calls with all the leading commissioners and sports bodies in the United States.
Town & Country magazine’s Ben Widdicombe explored the role of Ghislaine Maxwell, and Gates’ Microsoft co-founder—and then Trail Blazers owner—Paul Allen came up.
“She was a big part of the jet-set,” said one person who has known her for 15 years. "I would see her in St. Barth’s, on Paul Allen’s yacht"—the Octopus, an infamous 414-foot floating pleasure palace then owned by the late Microsoft co-founder—“and at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party in New York.” … Much like Epstein, her social circle also encompassed Britain’s Prince Andrew; a Palm Beach set which included Donald Trump; and the Clinton family—she even attended Chelsea Clinton’s 2010 wedding. “But the thing is, to hang around those billionaire guys, you either have to be sleeping with them or you’re finding them girls. There is no in-between when you’re in that crowd,” said the friend, referring not to Ghislaine individually but the dark habits and rituals common at the highest echelons of power.
Jeffrey Epstein died in custody, days after reportedly changing his will and naming Boris Nikolic—a longtime Gates confidante—as his backup executor. Nikolic, who shared a private JP Morgan banker with Epstein and had other business ties, reportedly rejected the assignment.
Gates left the Microsoft board.
The couple deployed their connections last year in response to the pandemic, calling leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi to drum up support for their plans. The foundation has committed $1.75 billion so far to its Covid-19 response, and played a key role in shaping the global deal to bring vaccines to poor countries.
That prominence has also brought a fair share of scrutiny, throwing a spotlight on Mr. Gates’s robust defense of intellectual property rights — in this case, specific to vaccine patents — even in a time of extreme crisis, as well as the larger question of how unelected wealthy individuals can play such an outsize part on the global stage.
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