(JTA) — Billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner, a major philanthropist to Jewish causes, said that alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money” from him.
After almost a month of media reports and investigations into the financial and personal connections between Leslie H. Wexner, L Brands chairman and CEO and founder of the Wexner Foundation, and his former money manager Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender, Wexner issued a "personal" response to the foundation's community Aug. 7.
Wexner, the founder of Victoria’s Secret and The Limited, made the accusation in a brief letter to his Wexner Foundation, The New York Times reported. The letter said the misappropriation was first discovered in 2007 as Wexner separated his interests from Epstein.
“It was agreed that he should step back from the management of our personal finances,” Wexner said in the letter, according to The Times. “In that process, we discovered that he had misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family. This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now.
“I am embarrassed that, like so many others, I was deceived by Mr. Epstein. I know now that my trust in him was grossly misplaced, and I deeply regret having ever crossed his path.”
Epstein had a power of attorney over Wexner interests, allowing him to hire people, sign checks, buy and sell properties, and borrow money on Wexner’s behalf, according to the newspaper.
Wexner, who was Epstein’s only money management client, has said the two have not been in touch for over a decade. Epstein had once served as a trustee of the foundation.
Epstein was arrested last month and charged with sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. He was convicted in 2008 of soliciting a teenage girl to prostitution and served 18 months in prison.