Bill Gates in an interview published Tuesday defended his association with registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, describing his relationship with the disgraced financier as business-oriented.
Gates told The Wall Street Journal that he met with Epstein solely for his connections to other businessmen, adding that he did not attend the rumored parties at which Epstein was accused of preying on young girls.
"I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that," Gates told the Journal. "There were people around him who were saying, 'hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.' "
"Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about," Gates continued.
Gates, one of the richest men in the world, is heavily involved in philanthropy through his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Together with his wife, the two have invested millions in various charitable causes.
Epstein's involvement in plans to secure wealthy benefactors for various foundations and organizations has come under scrutiny following his suicide last month ahead of a federal sex trafficking trial. He faced a similar legal battle in 2008 that resulted in him registering on a sex offender registry and taking a plea deal many considered to be lenient.
This week, the director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigned after his role in hiding donations organized by Epstein was revealed.