Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met with disgraced financier and child sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein at least 36 times, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The meetings occurred monthly from December 2015.
The meetings occurred after Epstein had initially been arrested in 2008 for sex crimes.
The report also details Barak taking rides on Epstein’s private jet and visiting the Epstein mansions in Florida and New York. In January 2014, Epstein flew Barak from his private Palm Beach mansion to Tampa, which Barak claims was for a US military installation.
“I flew only twice on his airplane, together with my wife and Israeli security detail,” Barak told the Journal.
Did Barak engage in criminal behavior?
Barak acknowledged these visits to the Journal, claiming that his visits with Epstein were used as an opportunity to meet interesting people and discuss politics. Barak denies having participated in any activities with girls or women. Barak added that his wife often accompanied him on these visits.
“I never participated in any party or any other improper event around [Epstein], and never met him with girls or minors, or even adult women in improper context or behavior,” Barak said.
“In retrospect, [Epstein] seems to be a terrible version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but at the time seemed to be an intelligent person, socially well connected and of wide areas of interest, from science to geopolitics,” Mr. Barak said to the Journal.
Barak’s claims run against those of Virginia Giuffre, who was one of Epstein’s many victims. Giuffre claims that Epstein forced her into having sexual relations with Barak and Jewish-American attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Barak claims that he was introduced to Epstein in 2003 by former prime minister Shimon Peres. Additionally, Barak was photographed entering Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse with his face hidden, on the same day in January 2016 that a large group of women were seen entering the home. He explained that his face was covered because it was cold in New York that day.
According to Epstein’s calendar, he had arranged for Barak to meet with Noam Chomsky, a famed critic of Israel.
The report also details Epstein’s visitations with Reid Hoffman, the Linkedin co-founder; Woody Allen, a Jewish movie director known for marrying his step daughter; and Leon Black the co-founder of Apollo Global Management.
The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein
Epstein’s death in prison in 2019 was ruled a suicide but took place under mysterious circumstances that have led some to question the suicide determination. At the time, he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges following a Miami Herald investigation that uncovered his network of sexual abuse and high-profile connections.
US Attorney-General William Barr claimed that there were serious irregularities at the facility Epstein died in.
While Epstein may have died in 2019, discoveries and prosecutions over his crimes have continued. Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who has been accused of helping late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was reportedly hiding out in Israel. A source told the New York Post that Maxwell, the daughter of the late Jewish media mogul Robert Maxwell, is being “protected” in a number of countries, including Israel.
Josefin Dolsten/JTA, Andrew Lapin/JTA and Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.