Ghislaine Noelle Marion Maxwell (/ - /, ghee-LAYN, -LEN; born 25 December 1961) is a British former socialite, known for her association with financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She worked for her father, the publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, until his death in 1991 when she moved to the United States and became a close associate of Epstein. In 2020, she was charged by the US federal government with the crimes of enticement of minors and sex trafficking of underage girls.
Maxwell in 2007
|Born||25 December 1961|
|Education||Balliol College, Oxford|
Maxwell founded the self-described ocean-advocacy group The TerraMar Project in 2012. The organisation announced cessation of operations on 12 July 2019, a week after the sex trafficking charges brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public.
Ghislaine Maxwell was born in 1961, in Maisons-Laffitte, France, the ninth and youngest child of Elisabeth (née Meynard), a French-born scholar, and Robert Maxwell, a Czechoslovak-born British media proprietor. Her father was from a Jewish family and her mother was of Huguenot descent. Maxwell was born two days before a car accident that left her 15-year-old brother Michael in a prolonged coma until his death in 1967. Her mother later reflected that the accident had an effect on the entire family, and surmised that Ghislaine had shown signs of anorexia while still a toddler. Throughout childhood, Ghislaine resided with her family in Oxford at Headington Hill Hall, a 53-room mansion, where the offices of Pergamon Press, a publishing company run by Robert Maxwell, were also located. Her mother said all her children were brought up as Anglicans. Maxwell attended Marlborough College, and Balliol College, Oxford.
Maxwell had a close relationship with her father and was widely credited with being her father's favourite. According to Tatler, Maxwell recalled that her father installed computers at Headington in 1973 and her first job was training to use a Wang and later programming code. The Times reported that he did not permit Ghislaine to bring her boyfriends home or to be seen with them publicly, after she started attending Oxford University.
Maxwell was a prominent member of the London social scene in the 1980s. She founded a women's club named after the original Kit-Cat Club and was a director of Oxford United Football Club during her father's ownership. She also worked at The European, a publication Robert Maxwell had started. According to Tom Bower, writing for The Sunday Times, in 1986 Robert invited her to the christening in her honour of his new yacht the Lady Ghislaine, at a shipyard in the Netherlands. Maxwell spent a large amount of time in the late 1980s aboard the yacht, which was equipped with a Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and disco. The Scotsman said Robert Maxwell had also "tailor-made a New York company for her". The company, which dealt in corporate gifts, was not profitable.
The Sunday Times reported that Maxwell flew to New York on 5 November 1990 to deliver an envelope on her father's behalf that, unknown to her, was part of "a plot initiated by her father to steal $200m" from Berlitz shareholders.
After Maxwell's father purchased the New York Daily News in January 1991, he sent her to New York City to act as his emissary. In May 1991, Maxwell and her father took Concorde on business to New York, where he quickly departed for Moscow and left her to represent his interests at an event honouring Simon Wiesenthal. In November 1991, Robert Maxwell's body was found floating in the sea near the Canary Islands and the Lady Ghislaine. Soon afterwards, Ghislaine flew to Tenerife, where the yacht was berthed, to attend to his business paperwork. Ghislaine attended her father's funeral in Jerusalem alongside various Israeli intelligence figures, president Chaim Herzog, and prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, who gave his eulogy. Although a verdict of death by accidental drowning was recorded, Maxwell has since said she believes her father was murdered, commenting in 1997, "He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered." After his death, Robert Maxwell was found to have fraudulently appropriated the pension assets of Mirror Group Newspapers, a company that he ran and in which he held a large share of ownership, to support its share price. There were reportedly over £440m in pension funds missing, which left the surviving Maxwell family members and the British government in a bind to repay the 32,000 people affected. Two of Maxwell's brothers, Ian and Kevin, who were the most involved with their father in daily business dealings, were arrested on 19 June 1992 and charged with fraud related to the Mirror Group pension scandal. The brothers were acquitted of the charges three and a half years later in January 1996.
Maxwell moved to the United States in 1991, just after her father's death. She was photographed boarding a Concorde to cross the Atlantic, causing outrage amidst the pension scandal due to the high cost of the flight. Maxwell was provided with an annual income of £80,000 thanks to a trust fund established in Liechtenstein by her father. By 1992, she had moved to an apartment of an Iranian friend overlooking Central Park. At the time, Maxwell worked at a real estate office on Madison Avenue and was reported to be socialising with celebrities. She quickly rose to wider prominence as a New York City socialite.
Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
Accounts differ on when Maxwell first met American financier Jeffrey Epstein. According to Epstein's former business partner, Steven Hoffenberg, Robert Maxwell introduced his daughter to Epstein in the late 1980s. The Times reported that Maxwell met Epstein in the early 1990s at a New York party following "a difficult break-up with Count Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni" (1962–2012) of the CIGA Hotels clan.
Maxwell had a romantic relationship with Epstein for several years in the early 1990s and remained closely associated with him for decades. The nature of their relationship remains unclear. In a 2009 deposition, several of Epstein's household employees testified that Epstein referred to her as his "main girlfriend" who also hired, fired, and supervised his staff, starting around 1992. She has also been referred to as the "Lady of the House" by Epstein's staff and as his "aggressive assistant". In a 2003 Vanity Fair profile on Epstein, author Vicky Ward said Epstein referred to Maxwell as "my best friend". Ward also observed that Maxwell seemed "to organize much of his life".
Politico reported that Maxwell and Epstein had friendships with several prominent individuals in elite circles of politics, academia, business and law, including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew.
Maxwell is known for her longstanding friendship with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and for having escorted him to a "hookers and pimps" social function in New York. She introduced Epstein to Prince Andrew, and the three often socialised together. In 2000, Maxwell and Epstein attended a party thrown by Prince Andrew at the Queen's Sandringham House estate in Norfolk, England, reportedly for Maxwell's 39th birthday. In a November 2019 interview with the BBC, Prince Andrew confirmed that Maxwell and Epstein had attended an event at his invitation, but he denied that it was anything more than a "straightforward shooting weekend".
In 1995, Epstein renamed one of his companies the Ghislaine Corporation; based in Palm Beach, Florida, the company was dissolved in 1998. As a trained helicopter pilot, Maxwell also transported Epstein to his private Caribbean island.
In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution and served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence. Following Epstein's release, although Maxwell continued to attend prominent social functions, she and Epstein were no longer seen together publicly.
Civil cases and accusations
Virginia Roberts Giuffre v. Maxwell (2015)
Details of a civil lawsuit, made public in January 2015, contained a deposition from "Jane Doe 3" that accused Maxwell of recruiting her in 1999, when she was a minor, and grooming her to provide sexual services for Epstein. A 2018 exposé by Julie K. Brown in the Miami Herald revealed Jane Doe 3 to be Virginia Giuffre, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts. Giuffre met Maxwell at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Giuffre was working at the time. She asserted that Maxwell had introduced her to Epstein, after which she was "groomed by the two [of them] for his pleasure, including lessons in Epstein's preferences during oral sex".
Maxwell has repeatedly denied any involvement in Epstein's crimes. In a 2015 statement, Maxwell rejected allegations that she has acted as a procurer for Epstein and denied that she had "facilitated Prince Andrew's [alleged] acts of sexual abuse". Her spokesperson said "the allegations made against Ghislaine Maxwell are untrue" and she "strongly denies allegations of an unsavoury nature, which have appeared in the British press and elsewhere, and reserves her right to seek redress at the repetition of such old defamatory claims".
Giuffre asserted that Maxwell and Epstein had trafficked her and other underage girls, often at sex parties hosted by Epstein at his homes in New York, New Mexico, Palm Beach, and the US Virgin Islands. Maxwell called her a liar. Giuffre sued Maxwell for defamation in federal court in the Southern District of New York in 2015. While details of the settlement have not been made public, in May 2017 the case was settled in Giuffre's favour, with Maxwell paying Giuffre "millions".
Sarah Ransome v. Epstein and Maxwell (2017)
In 2017, Sarah Ransome filed a suit, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, against Epstein and Maxwell, alleging that Maxwell hired her to give massages to Epstein and later threatened to physically harm her or destroy her career prospects if she did not comply with their sexual demands at his mansion in New York and on his private Caribbean island, Little Saint James. The suit was settled in 2018 under undisclosed terms.
Affidavit filed by Maria Farmer (2019)
On 16 April 2019, Maria Farmer went public and filed a sworn affidavit in federal court in New York, alleging that she and her 15-year-old sister, Annie, had been sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell in separate locations in 1996. Farmer's affidavit was filed in support of a defamation suit between Virginia Giuffre against Alan Dershowitz. According to the affidavit, Farmer had met Maxwell and Epstein at a New York art gallery reception in 1995. The affidavit says that in the summer of the following year, they hired her to work on an art project in billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner's Ohio mansion, where she was then sexually assaulted by both Maxwell and Epstein. Farmer reported the incident to the New York Police Department and the FBI. Her affidavit also stated that during the same summer, Epstein flew her then 15-year-old sister, Annie, to his New Mexico property where he and Maxwell molested her on a massage table.
Jennifer Araoz v. Epstein's estate, Maxwell, and Jane Does 1–3 (2019)
On 14 August 2019, Jennifer Araoz filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against Epstein's estate, Maxwell, and three unnamed members of his staff; the lawsuit was made possible under New York state's new Child Victims Act, which took effect on the same date. Araoz later amended her complaint on 8 October 2019 with the names of the previously unidentified women enablers to include Lesley Groff, Cimberly Espinosa, and the late Rosalyn Fontanilla.
Priscilla Doe v. Epstein's estate (2019)
Ghislaine Maxwell was named in one of three lawsuits filed in New York on 20 August 2019 against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein. The woman filing the suit, identified as "Priscilla Doe", claimed that she was recruited in 2006 and trained by Maxwell with step-by-step instructions on how to provide sexual services for Epstein.
Annie Farmer v. Maxwell and Epstein's Estate (2019)
Annie Farmer, represented by David Boies, sued Maxwell and Epstein's estate in Federal District Court in Manhattan in November 2019, accusing them of rape, battery and false imprisonment and seeking unspecified damages.
Jane Doe v. Maxwell and Epstein's Estate (2020)
In January 2020, a lawsuit was filed against Maxwell and Epstein alleging that they recruited a 13-year-old music student at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in the summer of 1994 and subjected her to sexual abuse. The suit states that Jane Doe was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Epstein over a four-year period and that Maxwell played a key role both in her recruitment and by participating in the assaults. According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe was targeted by Epstein and Maxwell for being fatherless and from a struggling family, in much the same manner as many of the other alleged victims.
Maxwell v. Epstein's Estate, Darren K. Indyke, Richard D. Kahn, and NES LLC (2020)
On 12 March 2020 Maxwell filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in the US Virgin Islands seeking compensation from Epstein's estate for her legal costs. Maxwell claimed she had been a longtime employee of Epstein (from 1998 to 2006) who had served to manage his property holdings in the US Virgin Islands, New York, New Mexico, Florida and Paris while continuing to deny any knowledge or involvement in his criminal activities. According to the lawsuit, Maxwell was seeking damages for the legal fees associated with defending herself against her accusers, expenses that she claims Epstein had promised to cover for her.
Dispute over release of court documents
On 2 July 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the unsealing of documents from the earlier civil suit against Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre. Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on 6 July 2019 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.
Maxwell requested a rehearing in a federal appeals court on 17 July 2019, in an effort to keep documents sealed that were part of a suit by Giuffre. On 9 August 2019 the first batch of documents were unsealed and released from the earlier defamation suit by Giuffre against Maxwell. Epstein was found dead on 10 August 2019, after reportedly hanging himself in his Manhattan prison cell.
Maxwell and her lawyers continued to argue against the further release of court documents in December 2019. Reuters confirmed on 27 December 2019 that Maxwell was under investigation by the FBI for facilitating Epstein's criminal activities.
Additional documents from the Giuffre v. Maxwell defamation suit were released on 30 July 2020. The documents included a deposition given by Giuffre and more recent email exchanges between Maxwell and Epstein, with some of the correspondence from 2015.
Attempts to locate Maxwell to serve court documents
On 27 December 2019, Reuters reported that Maxwell was among those under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein. After his arrest, Maxwell was in hiding, communicating with the courts only through her lawyers who, as of 30 January 2020, had refused to accept on her behalf service of three lawsuits against her. The New York Times said that by 2016 Maxwell was no longer being photographed at events. By 2017, her lawyers claimed before a judge that they did not know her address; they further stated that she was in London but they did not believe she had a permanent residence.
Maxwell has a history of being unreachable during legal proceedings. During the lawsuit filed in 2017 from Ransome against Maxwell, District Judge John G. Koeltl granted a motion for "alternative service" on the grounds that the plaintiff's efforts to reach Maxwell were persistently thwarted; these included hiring a private investigation firm that attempted service at three physical addresses, sending information to several email addresses, and reaching out to the lawyers actively representing Maxwell in another lawsuit who refused to become a "general agent of process" to relay the information to her.
According to court documents from a lawsuit filed by Epstein against Bradley Edwards (a representative for several of his accusers), in 2010 Maxwell had agreed to provide a deposition in the case but reportedly left the country one day before Edwards was scheduled to fly to New York to take her deposition, "claiming she needed to return to the UK to be with her deathly ill mother" with no intention of returning to the United States. However, Maxwell returned within a month to attend Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
In January 2020, it was reported that Maxwell had refused to allow her lawyers to be served with several lawsuits in which she has been directly named in 2019 and 2020, including one by Farmer and from Araoz. While Maxwell's lawyers continued to argue on her behalf against the release of additional court documents from the Giuffre v. Maxwell lawsuit, they claimed to not know where she is or to have permission to accept the recent lawsuits filed against her.
Authorities in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) were unsuccessful in locating Maxwell during the three and a half months they were seeking to serve her with a subpoena. USVI prosecutors consider Maxwell to be a "critical fact witness" in their lawsuit against Epstein's estate. A court filing from the USVI Department of Justice, released on 10 July 2020, stated that Maxwell was also under investigation for her alleged participation in Epstein's sex trafficking operation in the Virgin Islands.
Arrest and indictment
Maxwell faced persistent allegations of procuring and sexually trafficking underage girls for Epstein and others, charges she has denied. Maxwell was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire by the FBI on 2 July 2020 and charged with enticement of minors, sex trafficking of children, and perjury. On 14 July 2020, a New York federal judge denied Maxwell bail after determining that her risks of fleeing "are simply too great". Southern District of New York prosecutors charged her with six federal crimes, including enticement of minors, sex trafficking, and perjury. The indictment charged that between 1994 and 1997, she “assisted, facilitated, and contributed" to the abuse of minor girls despite knowing that one of three unnamed victims was 14 years old.
As of 6 July 2020[update], Maxwell is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn, New York. Lawyers requested that the judge release her on $5 million bond with monitored home confinement while awaiting trial.
Maxwell appeared by video link before a court in Manhattan on 14 July 2020. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. A naturalised US citizen since 2002 who also holds passports from France and the United Kingdom, Maxwell was denied bail as a flight risk amid concerns regarding her "completely opaque" finances, her skill at living in hiding, and the fact that France does not extradite its citizens. Her lawyers argued unsuccessfully that she was at risk of catching COVID-19 in detention. The judge set a date for the trial of 12 July 2021; the trial is expected to last for approximately two weeks.
In 2012, Maxwell founded The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit organisation that advocated the protection of oceans. She gave a lecture for TerraMar at the University of Texas at Dallas and a TED talk, at TEDx Charlottesville in 2014. Maxwell accompanied Stuart Beck, a 2013 TerraMar board member, to two United Nations meetings to discuss the project.
The TerraMar Project announced closure on 12 July 2019, less than a week after the charges of sex trafficking brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public. An associated, UK-based company, Terramar (UK), listed Maxwell as a director. An application for the UK organisation to be closed was made on 4 September 2019, with the first notice in The London Gazette made on 17 September 2019. The company Terramar (UK) was listed as officially dissolved on 3 December 2019.
Since at least 1997, Maxwell has maintained a residence in Belgravia, London. In 2000, Maxwell moved into a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) townhouse on East 65th Street, New York City, less than 10 blocks from Epstein's mansion. Maxwell's townhouse was purchased for $4.95 million by an anonymous limited liability company, with an address that matches the office of J. Epstein & Co. Representing the buyer was Darren Indyke, Epstein's longtime lawyer. In April 2016, the New York townhouse where she had lived was sold for $15 million.
Following her personal and professional involvement with Epstein, Maxwell was romantically linked for several years to Ted Waitt, founder of Gateway computers. She attended the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010 as Waitt's guest. Maxwell helped Waitt obtain and renovate a luxury yacht, the Plan B, and used it for travel to France and Croatia before their relationship ended, in late 2010 or early 2011.
On 15 August 2019, reports surfaced that Maxwell had been living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, in the home of Scott Borgerson, the CEO of CargoMetrics, a hedge fund investment company involved in maritime data analytics. Maxwell and Borgerson were described as having been in a romantic relationship for several years. Locals in the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea said Maxwell had kept a low profile, went by "G" instead of her full first name, and had been seen on several occasions walking a Vizsla dog along the beach. Borgerson and Maxwell filed documents in Massachusetts Land Court about Borgerson's residence, known as Phippin House, during a civil dispute with neighbours regarding rescinded access rights to the larger Sharksmouth Estate in 2019. A neighbouring property manager attested that Maxwell and Borgerson were living together at the property in question. Others have said they had been seen repeatedly running together in the mornings. Borgerson stated in August 2019 that Maxwell was not currently living at the home and that he did not know where she was. Also on 15 August 2019, the New York Post published photographs of Maxwell dining at a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles, claiming that "The Post found the socialite hiding in plain sight in the least likely place imaginable — a fast-food joint in Los Angeles". The photos were later proven to have been taken at a meeting with Maxwell's friend and attorney Leah Saffian, who also gave other pictures to the Daily Mail.
Maxwell moved to a remote 156-acre (63 ha) property in Bradford, New Hampshire in late 2019, where she used former British military personnel as personal security until her arrest in July 2020. At the time of her arraignment, Federal prosecutors stated that Maxwell is married; she did not disclose the identity of her spouse (or their respective finances).
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ghislaine Maxwell|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ghislaine Maxwell.|
- Right Hand Woman 27:21 video, 60 Minutes, Australia, 2020
- Exposing Jeffrey Epstein's international sex trafficking ring, 45:16 video, 60 Minutes, Australia, 2019
- Unsealed Court Documents from Giuffre vs. Maxwell released 2019
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from Brown v. Maxwell; Dershowitz v. Giuffre released 2019