Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, the Epstein confidant under FBI investigation?

(Reuters) - Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s death has led to mounting questions about his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell, who Reuters reported on Friday is being investigated by the FBI along with several other people linked to him.

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Maxwell has been accused in court filings of facilitating a sex-trafficking operation that brought girls to Epstein’s opulent Manhattan home, but she has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Her lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.

Maxwell, 58, was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein’s who became a longtime member of his inner circle. In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein was quoted as saying Maxwell was his “best friend.”

She is the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, who founded a publishing house and owned tabloids including the Daily Mirror. It emerged after Robert Maxwell’s mysterious death in 1991 that he had looted hundreds of millions of dollars from employee pension funds to prop up his crumbling business empire.

In the early 1990s, Ghislaine Maxwell moved to New York, where she worked selling real estate. Around that time she began her romantic relationship with Epstein, a financier who lived in a lavish style and attended high society parties.

Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.

In 2013 and 2014, Maxwell spoke at the United Nations in her capacity as the founder of the TerraMar Project, an oceanic conservation group.

Maxwell largely disappeared from public view in 2016 and has been particularly elusive since Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in July.

The Washington Post reported in August that neighbors said Maxwell had been living in a secluded oceanfront mansion in Massachusetts owned by a technology entrepreneur, Scott Borgerson, who declined to tell the newspaper whether Maxwell had lived there with him.

A British tabloid, The Sun, said in November that it was offering a 10,000 pounds reward for information on Maxwell’s whereabouts.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Alistair Bell