Europe

Jeffrey Epstein case: Financier's Paris flat searched by police

Jeffrey Epstein Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Epstein was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges when he was found dead in his cell last month

Police have searched the Paris flat of the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, the prosecutor's office there has said.

They also searched the premises of Karin Models, an agency founded by an associate, Jean-Luc Brunel.

Last month, French prosecutors opened an inquiry into rape and sexual assault allegations against Epstein.

He died in a New York prison on 10 August as he awaited trial over allegations that he had run a network using underage girls for sex.

The searches began on Monday afternoon and ended in the early hours of Tuesday at Epstein's apartment, the franceinfo website reported.

More searches were conducted on 17 September at Mr Brunel's modelling agency in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, French media report.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Epstein had an apartment on Paris's exclusive Avenue Foch

Epstein was a fund manager with a vast fortune and properties around the world, including a luxury apartment in Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe.

Epstein was also friends with Mr Brunel, who has been accused in US court documents of procuring young girls for Epstein, along with allegations of rape.

Mr Brunel - who has not been seen since early July, according to franceinfo - has denied the accusations.

Virginia Giuffre, who filed a suit in the US, accused Epstein of using her as a "sex slave" and said she had been forced to sleep with well-known politicians and businessmen, the AFP news agency reports.

Three women have already given evidence to investigators in France since the French inquiry opened, AFP says.

Epstein was charged in New York in July with sex trafficking and conspiracy and was due to face trial next year.

He was already a convicted sex offender, having pleaded guilty to prostitution charges involving a minor in Florida in 2008.

He was at the time sentenced to a 13-month work release programme, in a deal which many commentators said was extremely lenient.

The second criminal case against him was launched after an FBI search of his Manhattan home resulted in the seizure of what appeared to be photos of naked girls.

According to the charges, the girls, some as young as 14, were given hundreds of dollars for sexual acts.

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