Ghislaine Maxwell’s journey from socialite to accused procuress in Epstein case

Ghislaine Maxwell has always lived among the global super rich and was no stranger to scandal long before she met Jeffrey Epstein.

The youngest of media baron Robert Maxwell's nine children, his death in 1991 exposed his multimillion-pound pension fund fraud at Mirror Group newspapers and plunged the family into crisis.

While her father's empire fell apart and two of her brothers were put under investigation for the fraud, Maxwell set up home in the US.

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From left, American real estate developer Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Guest, Piers Morgan and Ghislaine Maxwell attend BREAKFAST WITH LUCIAN by Geordie Greig at Private Residence on October 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
(L-R) Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and musician Michael Bolton pose for a portrait during a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
The Duke of York leaves the wedding of a former girlfriend Aurelia Cecil to Rupert Stephenson at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury. The Duke of York left with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late Robert Maxwell.
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Ghislaine Maxwell attends VIP Evening of Conversation for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 3: Ghislaine Maxwell attends Polo Ralph Lauren host Victories of Athlete Ally at Polo Ralph Lauren Store on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Ghislaine Maxwell attends NATIONAL URBAN TECH CENTER 2014 Gala at Three Sixty on June 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: TerraMar's Ghislaine Maxwell (L) and his holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa attend a reception at Ghislaine Maxwell’s residence after "StarTalk Live! Water World" Panel Discussion on June 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05: TerraMar's Ghislaine Maxwell attends a reception at Ghislaine Maxwell’s residence after "StarTalk Live! Water World" Panel Discussion on June 05, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 5: Ghislaine Maxwell attends Vanessa Noel Hosts Barbara Taylor Bradford's new book "Cavendon Hall" at Vanessa Noel on June 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 6: Ghislaine Maxwell attends EDUCATION THROUGH MUSIC Annual Children's Benefit Gala at Capitale on May 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: Ghislaine Maxwell attends BREAKFAST WITH LUCIAN by Geordie Greig at Private Residence on October 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Ghislaine Maxwell attends day 1 of the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 15: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
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Here is a timeline of how she went from London socialite to alleged procuress for paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

– 1961 to 1980s

Born not far from Paris, Maxwell spent her childhood at her family's sprawling mansion of Headington Hill Hall in Oxfordshire.

Pergamon Press AGM - Robert Maxwell - Headington Hill Hall, Oxford
Ghislaine Maxwell's father Robert outside their family home in Oxfordshire (PA)

She attended the exclusive Marlborough College – one of the most expensive public schools in the UK – before studying at Balliol College, Oxford.

After graduation, Maxwell held various posts in her father's companies and was a prominent figure on the London social scene.

-1991

Maxwell's father Robert was found dead, floating in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Canary Islands having apparently fallen overboard from his luxury yacht the Lady Ghislaine.

Lady Ghislaine/MAXWELL
Robert Maxwell's luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine (PA)

With the business empire collapsing around her family's ears and Mirror Group employees facing the loss of their entire pension funds, Maxwell moved to New York to start a new life.

– 1990s

Maxwell met Epstein and is believed to have had a romantic relationship with him, although the exact nature of their attachment is unclear.

Some people known to the pair at the time described them as a couple, others considered her to be some form of assistant to Epstein, while he described her as his "best friend".

Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell in 1991 (Jim James/PA)

During this time, Maxwell allegedly introduced Epstein to the Duke of York, whom she was understood to have known through her upbringing at the heart of British high society.

Andrew maintains he did not meet Epstein until 1999.

– 1994 to 1997

Maxwell is said to have turned pimp for Epstein by identifying and grooming young girls.

In the indictment published on July 2 2020, Maxwell faces charges including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts.

She is further charged with conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said: "(She) would be present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein, Maxwell's presence as an adult woman helped put the victims at ease."

– 2000

Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell were seen on holiday with Epstein at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Epstein and Maxwell attended a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew's 40th birthday, the Princess Royal's 50th, the Queen Mother's 100th and Princess Margaret's 70th.

– 2001

Virginia Roberts, also known as Virginia Giuffre, was groomed by Epstein between 2000 and 2002.

She claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times in 2001, with the first encounter allegedly taking place in Maxwell's London townhouse.

Jeffrey Epstein
The Duke of York's accuser Virginia Giuffre (BBC)

Ms Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew on two more occasions, at Epstein's New York home and at an "orgy" on his private island in the Caribbean.

She does not go public with her allegations until 2010.

The duke has categorically denied he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

– 2005

Police receive their first complaint about Epstein for sexual abuse of minors and an early FBI investigation identified around 40 victims.

-2008

Despite the growing mountain of evidence against him, US prosecutors bring just one charge of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl, for which he served just 13 months of an 18-month prison sentence.

– 2010

Jeffrey Epstein Associate
Jeffrey Epstein (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP)

Following Epstein's release from jail, the Duke of York is photographed with him in New York's Central Park.

Further footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on December 6 2010, showing him inside Epstein's Manhattan mansion, from where he is seen looking out from a large door of the property.

-2015 – 2017

Maxwell's name begins to appear in a growing number of civil cases brought by Epstein's victims.

The first is filed by Virginia Roberts, who accuses Maxwell of recruiting her in 1999 when she was still under age and grooming her as a sex slave for Epstein.

Maxwell disappears from public life and her lawyers and those of the claimants say that she is "unreachable" and does not appear to have a permanent address.

– 2019

Epstein is arrested at a New Jersey airport in July 2019 on sex trafficking charges and held at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York.

The financier is found dead in his jail cell on August 10.

Maxwell maintains a low profile, and is rumoured to be staying at the home of a former partner in a small coastal town in Massachusetts.

Five days after Epstein's death photos emerge of Maxwell apparently dining in a fast food restaurant in Los Angeles, although the pictures are later exposed as fakes.

Jeffrey Epstein Associate
Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (John Minchillo/AP)

-January 2020

Maxwell's lawyers claim they do not know where she is or have permission to accept the papers in recent lawsuits naming her as a defendant.

-July 2020

Maxwell is arrested by the FBI in Bradford, New Hampshire.

FBI New York assistant director William Sweeney tells a press conference: "We have been discreetly keeping tabs on Maxwell's whereabouts as we work this investigation.

"More recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago."

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