Before the millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged with hideous sex crimes in the early 2000s, he worked very closely with L Brands' chief, Les Wexner. Not only did Epstein have almost full control over Wexner's finances for several years, but also seemed to regard the businessman as a close friend, some of whom are featured in Netflix’s new documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Dirty Rich Man.
Wexner grew up in Ohio and became known as Merlin of the Mall after building up his retail empire The New York Times. He started his L brands at The Limited before adding Express, Henri Bendel, Lane Bryant, Abercrombie & Fitch, Bath & Body Works and Victoria & # 39; s Secret. While some of its major brands were acquisitions, Bath & Body Works was one of its companies. The retail portfolio – and Wexner – quickly became worth a lot of money, and shortly after Wexner first got to know Epstein in the 1980s, it was largely under Epstein's control.
Although Epstein does not have the professional experience to manage large sums of money, he started with finance at Bear Stearns and then worked for Wexner. According to The New York TimesIt is a bit cloudy what exactly Epstein managed for Wexner, as they never created a formal work agreement. In 1991, however, Wexner signed a tripartite power of attorney "that allowed Mr. Epstein to hire employees, sign checks, buy and sell real estate, and borrow money – all on behalf of Mr. Wexner". The New York Times wrote in 2019.
This collaboration enabled Epstein to acquire Wexner's Manhattan villa and an aircraft owned by Wexner, although no paperwork ever showed money exchange. Even after The New York Times"According to tax records, Mr. Epstein has taken on leadership positions in Mr. Wexner's foundations. Two of these foundations have a total of approximately $ 21 million in shares and cash for a charity founded by Mr. Epstein called C.O.U.Q.
In 2006 Epstein was first charged with abuse and illegal sexual activity with minors. Eighteen months later, during the trial of Epstein and the subsequent conviction, Wexner cut all ties to him. In 2019, Wexner accused Epstein of "misusing" huge sums of money "on his personal wealth more than a decade earlier," according to ABC News. However, Wexner declined to provide further information on this topic. He simply said: "An Epstein donation of $ 46 million in 2008 to a foundation led by Wexner's wife Abigail was only part of the funds he had reclaimed from Epstein."
After decades of leading L Brands into a billion dollar company, Wexner resigned as chairman and CEO in February 2020. He remains emeritus chairman of L Brands.