British socialite and close friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested by the FBI, according to US media.
NBC News first broke the news:
BREAKING / NBC News: Ghislane Maxwell, long-time Jeffrey Epstein confidante and friend linked to his sexual trafficking has been arrested and will be hit with charges tied to the Epstein investigation, law enforcement officials say.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) July 2, 2020
Maxwell was a virtual recluse after Epstein’s arrest last July on charges that he abused and trafficked in women and girls in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005.
The search for Maxwell has been the subject of intense speculation, with reported sightings and rumours of her whereabouts in various US and further afield destinations.
The New York Times reported that Maxwell had been arrested in New Hampshire. Epstein, who pleaded not guilty, killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August.
Maxwell’s father was the British media baron Robert Maxwell.
She was was a one-time girlfriend of Epstein who’s glittering social life, often included dining with the influential and powerful of politics, the arts and science.
Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has said in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell recruited her into Epstein’s circle, where she claims Epstein forced her to have sex with him and friends including British royal Prince Andrew – who has strongly denied the allegations.
Maxwell has said Giuffre’s allegations are untrue.
Giuffre in response filed a defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015.