Here are the most important things about wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged sex-trafficking operation

The wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein has tended to stay in the shadows over the course of his mysterious career. Besides a few profiles of the man now facing charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy, along with the trove of court documents that have accompanied him, little is known about Epstein.

What is known is very confusing. Epstein sits at the center of a tangled web of expensive assets and famous friends who are now desperate to distance themselves from him, given the accusations against him.

Here are the most bizarre aspects of Epstein’s life and the case being brought against him.

Epstein is said to be very wealthy, although the origins of his money, vehicles, and property are largely unknown.

Corbis via Getty ImagesEpstein in 2004.

There is no definitive estimation of what Epstein is worth. One of his associates, the Harvard professor and prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, said in 2003 that Epstein “has so much money that you can’t give him anything.”

But Forbes denies that Epstein is a billionaire, saying that his money-management firm, based in the US Virgin Islands, has generated no public records and very few public clients.

Leslie Wexner, the CEO and founder of the Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands, was one of Epstein’s first clients, according to a 2003 Vanity Fair profile on Epstein, and eventually transferred his NYC mansion to him for an unknown sum, if for any money at all.

Epstein once served on the board of L Brands, but a spokesperson for Wexner said the two severed ties a decade ago.

Business Insider reported on Tuesday that Epstein also directed the private-equity guru Leon Black’s family foundation for years.

Epstein’s assets include residences around the world, including a private island.

Emily Michot/Miami Herald/TNS via GettyEpstein’s Palm Beach, Florida, home.

Despite it not being known how much or where his money comes from, it is true that Epstein owns numerous properties. He has five homes scattered around the globe: his Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, residences, both named in the indictment he is facing, along with his private island, Little Saint James, in the US Virgin Islands.

Epstein also owns a ranch in New Mexico and an apartment in Paris, according to the real-estate blog The Real Deal.

There’s a strange temple on Epstein’s private island, and no one knows for sure what it’s for.

Axiom ImagesJeffrey Epstein’s private Caribbean island features a mysterious building that resembles a temple

The 3D view of that island on Google Maps shows off a sprawling mansion, auxiliary buildings, and a strange templelike building at the opposite end of Epstein’s perceived residence, complete with Greco-Roman architecture, anthropomorphic statues, and a golden dome.

The terrace around the building has a labyrinth design, and the front door has what a contractor and engineer told INSIDER looks like a locking bar “intended to lock people in.”

Rumours of the temple’s purpose range from workers on the island suggesting it may be a music room with a piano (Epstein is a classically-trained pianist), conspiracists believing it to have an elevator that leads into a lair and a space for religious worship.

Another, similarly styled but smaller building stands downhill from the templelike structure. Both were constructed between 2009 and 2013, per satellite images of the island. The same contractor and engineer told INSIDER the secondary building looked like it could be a cistern for treating or storing water or a small storage facility.

A video of a police walkthrough of Epstein’s Palm Beach residence shows off unsettling furnishings.

Epstein’s $US12 million Palm Beach estate was raided by authorities in 2005, and they took video of what they saw.

Strange and upsetting furnishings included framed naked photos of apparently prepubescent girls and a portrait of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and reported ex-girlfriend of Epstein who has been accused in lawsuits of coercing underage girls into the suspected sex-trafficking operation, according to Page Six.

There’s a massage chair in the bathroom, where women alleged Epstein coerced them into sex acts, according to the Miami Herald, along with what appears to be dentistry equipment. There was also a lot of art depicting nude women.

Besides his homes, Epstein also owned luxury vehicles, including a Boeing 727 jet nicknamed “Lolita Express.”

Prosecutors allege that Epstein owns three US passports, along with at least two private jets and 15 motor vehicles, several of which are Chevrolet Suburbans.

One of the jets has been nicknamed the “Lolita Express,” and flight logs obtained by Gawker list some of its passengers, including former President Bill Clinton.

A recent statement from former President Bill Clinton doesn’t appear to align with information from the “Lolita Express” flight logs.

Clinton put out a statement after Epstein’s Monday court appearance, saying that he travelled on the financier’s private jet four times in 2002 and 2003.

The “Lolita Express” flight logs obtained by Gawker actually place Clinton on several more flights – more than a dozen.

Besides his flight log, Epstein’s “black book” betrays a number of his acquaintances.

Davidoff Studios/Getty ImagesEpstein and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1997.

The flight logs aren’t the only documents Gawker was able to obtain that cast suspicion on Epstein’s acquaintances.

Epstein’s “black book” contained contact information for his friends, along with some of the minors he was accused of trafficking. President Donald Trump has downplayed his friendship with Epstein, but the black book contains 14 phone numbers seemingly associated with Trump, including his executive assistant and former houseman.

What’s more, the black book is the “Golden Nugget” to unravelling the alleged sex trafficking operation, according to a quote from Epstein’s former house manager Alfredo Rodriguez in an FBI affidavit Gawker report on. Rodriguez served 18 months for obstruction of justice after he tried to sell the black book to a lawyer for Epstein’s accusers. He died in 2014.

But Rodriguez circled more than 50 names in the “Holy Grail,” including Trump’s.

Besides Clinton, Epstein made plenty of powerful friends through his mysterious business dealings.

(Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2005.

Epstein’s money-management firm was conducted in a bizarre manner.

According to the 2002 profile of Epstein in New York magazine, the financier possesses no college degree and employs no analysts or portfolio managers for the clients that he said were required to entrust him with over $US1 billion just to get in the door.

Epstein did any and all management himself, with 150 administrative workers, most, if not all, of whom appear to be young women, according to New York magazine.

Despite the secrecy of his operations, those who know Epstein are full of praise for his brainpower.

Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty ImagesEpstein with Alan Dershowitz.

In the same 2002 profile, people close to Epstein rave about his “motor brain” and him keeping up with Nobel Prize winners on cutting-edge theoretical science of the 21st century.

Epstein had his own science blog, accessible through internet archives, that show pictures of scientists as notable as Stephen Hawking himself spending time with Epstein on his private island.

Epstein called his team of female assistants “an extension” of his brain.

Associated PressEpstein in custody in West Palm Beach, Florida, in 2008.

Epstein hired only female assistants, according to a 2005 New York Times article.

His three executive assistants made more than $US200,000 a year, with each required to maintain a 24/7 presence that Epstein called “an extension” of his own brain, according to The Times. He treated them to lavish hairstylists, take-out lunches from expensive restaurants, and even a full-time nanny, when one of his assistants became pregnant and considered maternity leave.

Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, rumoured to be one of the largest private residences in the city, was full of weirdness.

Epstein’s Manhattan mansion has between seven and nine floors and at least 40 rooms, though the exact details of its floor plan are unknown. When visitors enter, they are greeted with a row of lifelike eyeballs manufactured for injured soldiers, according to a 2003 Vanity Fair piece.

It has a heated footpath and bizarre furnishings, like the Palm Beach residence, which include a chessboard at the bottom of a staircase with pieces custom-carved to resemble Epstein’s staff in promiscuous poses, according to The Times.

Epstein at one point was neighbours with Bill Cosby, who lived across the street. Also, Epstein commissioned a mural of himself in jail, a constant reminder, he told one visitor, that he could go back.

Even after his conviction in 2008, Epstein maintained an alarming sense of humour about the crimes he committed.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Epstein had an off-putting sense of humour about his crimes. In 2011, he referred to the difference between a sexual predator and a sexual offender as the difference between “a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

The financier may not have quite the same outlook now, since he faces 45 years in prison – a probable life sentence for a 66-year-old, federal prosecutors said.

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