Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, is "extremely skilled at living in hiding" and could "flee abroad and live comfortably for the rest of her life" if granted bail by the courts, US authorities have warned.
Ahead of a bail hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors revealed that FBI officers discovered that Ms Maxwell had wrapped her mobile phone in tin foil in a “seemingly misguided effort to evade detection” and hired former British soldiers to guard her hideout in New Hampshire, where she was arrested earlier this month.
In the documents submitted today to a Manhattan judge opposing Ms Maxwell's application for bail, the prosecutors argued that the British heiress is an “extreme flight risk” and would attempt to leave the US if allowed out of prison.
They revealed she has had access to $20m, including $2m in banks in the UK, and was transferring money between Swiss bank accounts as recently as last year.
They submitted that Ms Maxwell, 58, who is facing 35 years in prison on charges that she recruited teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s, had tried to escape during her arrest and was found hiding in a room by FBI agents.
A British private security guard working for Ms Maxwell is said to have told the FBI that she had not left the property during his time working there, and that he was sent out to make purchases for the property using a credit card.
“There should be no question that the defendant is skilled at living in hiding,” the prosecutors wrote in a submission to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday.
Investigators also allege that Ms Maxwell has refused to declare her financial situation and they have been unable to determine whether she has had a job in more than 30 years.
They rejected Ms Maxwell’s $5 million bail proposal, claiming that offering a $3.75m home in London as collateral was meaningless as it could not be seized by US authorities. They also argue that the co-signatories - believed to be her twin sisters and other close relatives - have not been formally identified to them and it was not clear if they are living in the US.
They also expressed concern that she may escape to France, where she holds citizenship. Paris does not extradite its own citizens.
In their request for bail submitted to the court on Friday, Ms Maxwell’s lawyers had claimed that their client could be trusted and had never “run from the law”.
They said she had not been “hiding out” at the $1m 156-acre property in Bradford, New Hampshire, which she purchased in cash through a limited company, but was simply escaping the media’s glare.
They argued that she has been made a scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan prison last August. "Ghislaine Maxwell," they wrote, "is not Jeffrey Epstein."
Ms Maxwell’s legal team said that she was willing to subject herself to home confinement with electronic monitoring and relinquish her three passports.
At least one of the alleged victims identified in the indictment against Ms Maxwell is planning to tell Tuesday’s hearing that his “partner in crime” and longtime associate should be denied bail.
Attorneys from Cohen and Gresser law firm have appealed that Ms Maxwell would be at risk of catching Covid-19 if she remained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, claiming that the coronavirus is an “unprecedented and extraordinary dangerous threat that justifies release on bail.”
However, the Southern District of New York countered on Monday that at 58 years old and with no declared pre-existing medical conditions she was not at greater risk than many other inmates.
Prosecutors also revealed that several new witnesses had come forward as a result of a public appeal, and that their testimony would likely strengthen their case.
It also emerged that the US Virgin Islands, where much of Epstein’s abuse of women and underage girls was alleged to have taken place, was investigating Ms Maxwell.
The former socialite is seeking reimbursement from Epstein’s estate for legal fees, claiming he repeatedly promised to take care of her financially.
She and Epstein have been named as defendants in multiple lawsuits brought by their alleged victims. Ms Maxwell denies the allegations.