Three people who claim they were victims of Jeffrey Epstein have come forward in France, prosecutors in Paris have said.
The trio were questioned in recent weeks, chief prosecutor Remy Heitz’s office said Wednesday, without giving any further details.
It comes after Heitz opened a preliminary investigation last month into whether the billionaire paedophile had committed sex crimes on French territory or against any underage French victims.
It also comes after Virginia Roberts, Epstein’s most high-profile accuser, claimed that Epstein had 12-year-old French triplets flown from France to Miami so he could abuse them as a ‘birthday present’.
Epstein and Maxwell are seen in Paris in a photo taken by alleged victim Virginia Roberts circa late 2000
Three people have come forward to French authorities to accuse billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein of abusing them, the Paris prosecutor’s office says
Epstein owned an apartment in Paris is on the famed Avenue Foch (pictured)
Roberts made the claims in a 2015 lawsuit that was unsealed last month, in which she said the girls were supplied to Epstein by Jean-Luc Brunel, a French ‘model scout’ who was a close associate of his.
‘Jeffrey bragged after he met them that they were 12-year-olds and flown over from France because they’re really poor over there, and their parents needed the money or whatever the case is and they were absolutely free to stay and flew out,’ Roberts said.
She said she saw the three girls with her own eyes and that Epstein had repeatedly described to her how the girls had massaged him and performed oral sex on him. They were flown back to France the next day.
Roberts also claimed that Brunel had agreed to supply girls for Epstein to abuse in return for a $1million investment to help launch his Miami-based modeling firm MC2.
It is not clear whether the three people who have come forward to French prosecutors and the triplets are one and the same.
French lawyers are now appealing for more potential victims to come forward.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 in New Jersey after his private jet landed on a flight from Paris, where he had a residence on Avenue Foch, one of the French capital’s most exclusive addresses.
He pleaded not guilty to U.S. charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14. Epstein died on Aug. 10 in his jail cell in Manhattan at the age of 66. An autopsy report concluded he had hanged himself.
Lawyers who represented Epstein in his U.S. criminal case could not immediately be reached for comment on the French move. A spokesman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan declined to comment on the French investigation.
It comes after court documents in which Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Epstein’s most high-profile accuser, were unsealed last month. In them, she accused him of having triplets flown out of France to the US so he could abuse them as a birthday present
Epstein was also a close friend of ‘model scout’ Jean Luc-Brunel, who Roberts accused of procuring young women for him to abuse
The French prosecutor’s office gave no details about any possible charges against Epstein.
The investigation was announced on August 23, four days after court papers containing Roberts’ allegations were unsealed in the US.
On August 22, the French arm of abuse charity Innocence in Danger revealed it had received 10 reports of abuse by Epstein in France after issuing its own appeal.
Earlier this week, a a 46-year-old Dutch former model accused Brunel of drugging and raping her at his Paris appartment in 1990, when she had just turned 18.
In a letter which was sent to Paris prosecutors, the woman said several girls lived in Brunel’s apartment near the Champs-Elysees, where every day ‘rich businessmen were accompanied by very young girls.’
“The events are beyond the statute of limitations, and my client knows this will not lead to charges against Mr Brunel,” the woman’s lawyer, Anne-Claire Le Jeune, told AFP.
“But she wanted to testify anyway, to help the inquiry move forward,” she said.
Innocence in Danger said it will also be sharing information with investigators.
‘Innocence in Danger will reserve for the judicial authority the content of the information and testimonies it has received in recent weeks so as to enable investigators to carry out all investigations necessary to uncover the truth,’ it said in a statement.
Epstein’s death at the federal jail triggered multiple investigations. It prompted U.S. Attorney General William Barr to criticize ‘serious irregularities’ at the facility, and to remove the acting chief of the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Barr has said that the criminal investigation into any possible co-conspirators of Epstein would continue.
Earlier this month, French gender equality minister Marlene Schiappa had called on authorities to open an investigation.
Epstein, a registered sex offender who once socialized with President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state charges of unlawfully paying a teenage girl for sex. He was sentenced to 13 months in a county jail, a deal widely criticized as too lenient.