US & Canada

Jeffrey Epstein, shamed financier accused of sex trafficking, in 300 words

Epstein's residence in Palm Beach, Florida, on 14 March 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Epstein's property in Palm Beach, Florida - one of many residences he had around the world

Jeffrey Epstein had vast wealth and high-profile connections. But behind the opulence lay a much darker, more sordid story.

Here's what you need to know.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein?

The 66-year-old was a hedge fund manager known for enjoying the high life. He had a slew of luxury properties around the world and socialised with, among others, Britain's Prince Andrew and US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.

He was also known for liking young girls. Allegations have emerged in recent years that he abused, trafficked and prostituted dozens of children as young as 13.

Why was he in prison?

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

But he was already a convicted sex offender, having pleaded guilty to prostitution charges involving a minor in Florida in 2008. As part of a non-prosecution deal, he avoided a potential 45-year prison sentence and instead undertook a 13 month work release programme - something which recently led to the resignation of US Labour Secretary Alex Acosta.

What do we know about his death?

Medical examiners say Epstein died as a result of suicide by hanging in his cell on 10 August. There have been many questions over how he was able to take his own life at New York's highly-secure Metropolitan Correctional Center, especially given the fact he had reportedly attempted to kill himself a few days earlier.

What happens next?

As a criminal case against Epstein can no longer go ahead, there have been calls for prosecutors to investigate his associates instead.

Lawyers for some of his accusers say they will pursue a claim for compensation from his estate. A will, signed by Epstein two days before his death, revealed he had assets worth at least $577m (£475m).

Want to know more?

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Media captionFootage appears to shows Prince Andrew inside Jeffrey Epstein's New York residence in 2010

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