FBI investigating British socialite and others who 'facilitated’ Epstein

The FBI is investigating British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and several other people linked to US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.

They said a principal focus of the FBI's investigation is Maxwell, a longtime associate of Epstein, and other "people who facilitated" Epstein's allegedly illegal behaviour.

Maxwell has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Her lawyers Jeffrey Pagliuca and Ty Gee did not respond to a request for comment.

The FBI also is following up on many leads received from women who contacted a hotline the agency set up at its New York field office in the wake of Epstein's arrest in July, the sources said.

One of the sources said the probe remains at an early stage.

The sources declined to give further details or identify the people they are looking at apart from Maxwell. However, they said the FBI has no current plans to interview Britain's Prince Andrew, a friend of Epstein's who stepped down from his public duties in November because of what he called his "ill-judged" association with the well-connected money manager.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment.

A representative for the British royal family said that whether the agency interviewed Andrew was "a matter for the FBI."

Epstein's suicide in August, at age 66, came a little over a month after he was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said he recruited girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature.

He had pleaded not guilty.

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