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Subpoenaed flight logs that had previously been obtained by the press show that philanthropist and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates traveled on financier Jeffrey Epstein’s plane once, from New Jersey to Florida. They do not show that he traveled to Epstein’s private island in the Virgin Islands.
Gates and Esptein did meet multiple times between 2011 to 2013, The New York Times reported. Gates said he met with Epstein for philanthropic donations, and has since said he regrets doing so.
Billionaire and philanthropist and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates met with financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein many times. But false claims about the location of those meetings and why the two met are spreading online.
A short video posted to Instagram on May 20 starts with an image of Gates along with text on the screen: "37 Epstein visits" and "Bill Gates."
The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Gates and Epstein did meet, multiple times, to discuss philanthropic opportunities. But records don’t show that Gates went to Epstein’s island, which is in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Reuters fact-checked a similar claim in 2020, a year after Epstein was found dead by suicide in a jail cell following criminal charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. Subpoenaed flight logs obtained by the press showed Gates flew on Epstein’s plane once, on March 1, 2013, from Teterboro airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. The records do not show that he flew to Epstein’s island.
Gates and Epstein met repeatedly beginning in 2011, The New York Times reported, including at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse and in Florida. He stopped meeting with him in 2013, the newspaper reported. Gates’ employees also visited Epstein’s mansion. Gates has said before that he regretted meeting with him.
In an August 2021 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Gates said: "I had several dinners with him, hoping what he said about getting billions (of dollars) for global health through contacts that he had might emerge, you know. When it looked like it wasn't a real thing, the relationship ended. But it was a huge mistake to spend time with him to give him the credibility of being there. There were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake."
There’s no evidence to support the theory that Gates visited Epstein’s island 37 times. We rate this claim False.
Instagram post, May 20, 2023
Independent, Jeffrey Epstein ‘blackmailed’ Bill Gates with threat to expose alleged affair with Russian bridge player, May 23, 2023
Reuters, False claim: Bill Gates traveled to Epstein’s island multiple times, May 15, 2020
NBC News, Who is Jeffrey Epstein, and why has he been arrested again?, July 11, 2019
Gawker.com, Epstein Flight Manifests, accessed May 26, 2023
The New York Times, Bill Gates met with Jeffrey Epstein many times, despite his past, Oct. 12, 2019
Anderson Cooper 360° Twitter post, Aug. 4, 2021
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