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Bill Gates appears flustered when quizzed by reporter over relationship with Jeffrey Epstein

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A seemingly flustered Bill Gates stammered his way through a televised interview after the mega-billionaire philanthropist was asked about his meetings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Microsoft co-founder appeared on the PBS Newshour show on Tuesday to answer a range of questions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations General Assembly in progress, and his meetings with controversial American financier Epstein.

“You know, I had dinners with him... I regret doing that,” Mr Gates said in his interview with Judy Woodruff.

“He had relationships with people he said would give to global health, which is an interest I have. Not nearly enough philanthropy goes in that direction. Those meetings were a mistake. They didn’t result in what he purported. And I cut them off. That goes back a long time ago now. There’s — so there’s nothing new on that.”

On being asked what he found out about Epstein and his background after meeting him a number of times, Mr Gates struggled to give a direct answer. He said: “Well, I have said I regretted having those dinners. And there’s nothing, absolutely nothing new on that.”

Another awkward moment cropped up for Mr Gates after Ms Woodruff asked him if there was a lesson to take from this experience. The multi-billionaire said in response: “Well, he’s dead. So, in general, you always have to be careful.”

“And the — I’m very proud of what we have done in philanthropy, very proud of the work of the foundation. That’s what I get up every day and focus on,” Mr Gates added, while looking uncomfortable.

Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking, and died in his Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. The controversial figure, who had attracted a pool of rich and affluent people, had pleaded guilty to charges of prostitution and solicitation.

In October 2019, reports emerged that Mr Gates had met Epstein on several occasions. The two had reportedly met at least three times since 2011 at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, and that too for long durations.

Mr Gates had initially played down ties with the controversial sex offender. “I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2019.

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