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How Ghislaine Maxwell went from socialite to ‘child sex-trafficker’

Ghislaine Maxwell grew up well versed in mixing with royals, politicians and moguls. 

As the ‘favorite’ daughter of disgraced newspaper baron Robert she boasted an impeccable network of contacts and starry circle of friends. 

The French born socialite, 58, spent decades at the most exclusive of parties, pictured with the likes of Donald Trump and Prince Andrew and riding private jets with Bill Clinton.   

But on Thursday Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire, accused of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein.

An indictment said she facilitated Epstein’s crimes by ‘helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ‘ girls as young as 14. It also said she participated in the sexual abuse. 

Maxwell has previously denied the allegations against her. Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Until her arrest Maxwell had been virtually invisible since the autumn of 2016. But it wasn’t always that way. 

In fact, Maxwell, who speaks with a British accent, had been a regular on the New York social scene after meeting Epstein in the 1990s, using her connections to secure them both access to the most exclusive of parties.  

As one of Epstein’s accusers, Maria Farmer, told The Guardian: ‘Ghislaine was key in making me feel safe.’

She added: ‘I trusted her because she is a woman…she had that way about her, you know, the popular girl in school, she was one of those. She knew everybody.’ 

Prince Andrew center and Ghislaine Maxwell (in green dress) at Royal Ascot in 2000. Maxwell was arrested Thursday, accused of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew center and Ghislaine Maxwell (in green dress) at Royal Ascot in 2000. Maxwell was arrested Thursday, accused of helping procure underage sex partners for Jeffrey Epstein

The French born socialite, 58, spent decades at the most exclusive of parties, pictured with the likes of Donald Trump, pictured in 1997 together, and Prince Andrew and riding private jets with Bill Clinton

The French born socialite, 58, spent decades at the most exclusive of parties, pictured with the likes of Donald Trump, pictured in 1997 together, and Prince Andrew and riding private jets with Bill Clinton

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 1995

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 1995

The French born socialite, 58, spent decades at the most exclusive of parties, pictured with the likes of Donald Trump, left in 1997, and Prince Andrew and riding private jets with Bill Clinton

As the 'favorite' daughter of disgraced newspaper baron Robert, Ghislaine boasted an impeccable network of contacts. The father and daughter are pictured in 1984

As the 'favorite' daughter of disgraced newspaper baron Robert, Ghislaine boasted an impeccable network of contacts. The father and daughter are pictured in 1984

As the ‘favorite’ daughter of disgraced newspaper baron Robert, Ghislaine boasted an impeccable network of contacts. The father and daughter are pictured in 1984

Born in Paris on Christmas Day in 1961 to her French mother Elisabeth and dad Robert Ghislaine was the youngest of nine.  She grew up at Headington Hill Hall, a mansion leased from the council.

Maxwell went on to be educated at Marlborough College, then Oxford University and was used to a privileged, public-school and Oxford-educated lifestyle. She is also said to be a helicopter and submarine pilot and able to speak four languages.

But when her father Robert, one of the most powerful media magnates — and most notorious fraudsters — in modern history, died her world crumbled. 

A lifelong campaigner for Israel, who had lost most of his family during the Holocaust, Robert spent his business career investing in the nation’s economy

He died aged 68 in 1991 in suspicious circumstances after falling off his megayacht named after Ghislaine, the Lady Ghislaine. Her mother reportedly died in 2013.    

Heartbroken, Ghislaine is then is said to have fled to New York aged 30 where she is understood to have first met Epstein.  

She is said to have been broke after it was revealed her father had stolen nearly £500million from employee pension funds. Robert Maxwell biographer Tom Bower said she ‘worshiped rich, domineering men’.

Maxwell, pictured in 1986, had been a regular on the New York social scene after meeting Epstein in the 1990s, using her connections to secure them both access

Maxwell, pictured in 1986, had been a regular on the New York social scene after meeting Epstein in the 1990s, using her connections to secure them both access

Maxwell, pictured in 1986, had been a regular on the New York social scene after meeting Epstein in the 1990s, using her connections to secure them both access

Ghislaine pictured with her sisters

Ghislaine pictured with her sisters

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of former Mirror Group publisher Mr Robert Maxwell, sifting through the mountain's of 'Draw Coupon' entries in 1984.

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of former Mirror Group publisher Mr Robert Maxwell, sifting through the mountain's of 'Draw Coupon' entries in 1984.

Born in Paris on Christmas Day in 1961 to her French mother Elisabeth and dad Robert Ghislaine was the youngest of nine. She is pictured left with her sisters  and right in 1984 

But the relationship was more complicated than that. 

Maxwell used her impeccable social contacts, like her friendship with the Prince, to introduce Epstein, a gardener’s son, to society. In return, she used the financier’s millions to support a lavish lifestyle which included a home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a wardrobe of designer clothes and helicopter lessons.  

Prince Andrew has publicly invoked his friendship with Maxwell as the reason he came into paedophile Epstein’s orbit.

He blamed Maxwell for bringing Epstein to Windsor Castle and Sandringham in 2000. ‘Remember that it was his girlfriend (Maxwell) that was the key element in this,’ the Prince told Maitlis. ‘He was the… plus one.’  

The Prince corrected previous reports that he threw a birthday party for Maxwell at Sandringham at which Epstein is believed to have met other members of the Royal Family including Prince Charles: ‘It was a shooting weekend,’ he said.

Maxwell went on to be educated at Marlborough College, then Oxford University and was used to a privileged, public-school and Oxford-educated lifestyle. She is also said to be a helicopter and submarine pilot and able to speak four languages

Maxwell went on to be educated at Marlborough College, then Oxford University and was used to a privileged, public-school and Oxford-educated lifestyle. She is also said to be a helicopter and submarine pilot and able to speak four languages

Maxwell went on to be educated at Marlborough College, then Oxford University and was used to a privileged, public-school and Oxford-educated lifestyle. She is also said to be a helicopter and submarine pilot and able to speak four languages

Robert Maxwell biographer Tom Bower said she 'worshiped rich, domineering men'

Robert Maxwell biographer Tom Bower said she 'worshiped rich, domineering men'

Robert Maxwell biographer Tom Bower said she ‘worshiped rich, domineering men’

Photographs have also emerged of Maxwell joining a grinning Andrew and Epstein at Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day in 2000. 

And of course, it was at Maxwell’s Belgravia Mews house that Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges Epstein first ‘sex trafficked’ her to the Prince when she was just 17. It is a charge the Prince has continuously and vehemently denied.

Friends, Euan Rellie, told Tatler: ‘Every single interesting, pretty, new girl to arrive in New York would end up going for tea with Ghislaine, then being introduced to Jeffrey. She was the acceptable face of a rather mysterious billionaire.’ 

Ghislaine Maxwell, circled, pictured at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010

Ghislaine Maxwell, circled, pictured at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010

Ghislaine Maxwell, circled, pictured at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010 

Maxwell is pictured meeting Princess Diana in 1984. Maxwell used her impeccable social contacts, like her friendship with the Prince, to introduce Epstein, a gardener's son, to society

Maxwell is pictured meeting Princess Diana in 1984. Maxwell used her impeccable social contacts, like her friendship with the Prince, to introduce Epstein, a gardener's son, to society

Maxwell is pictured meeting Princess Diana in 1984. Maxwell used her impeccable social contacts, like her friendship with the Prince, to introduce Epstein, a gardener’s son, to society

In return, she used the financier's millions to support a lavish lifestyle which included a home on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a wardrobe of designer clothes and helicopter lessons. Maxwell is pictured with model Naomi Cambell in 2002

In return, she used the financier's millions to support a lavish lifestyle which included a home on Manhattan's Upper East Side, a wardrobe of designer clothes and helicopter lessons. Maxwell is pictured with model Naomi Cambell in 2002

In return, she used the financier’s millions to support a lavish lifestyle which included a home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a wardrobe of designer clothes and helicopter lessons. Maxwell is pictured with model Naomi Cambell in 2002 

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

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

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

Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell attend Anand Jon Fashion Show in 2000 in NYC

Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell attend Anand Jon Fashion Show in 2000 in NYC

Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell attend Anand Jon Fashion Show in 2000 in NYC

It was at Maxwell's Belgravia Mews house that Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges Epstein first 'sex trafficked' her to the Prince when she was just 17. It is a charge the Prince has continuously and vehemently denied

It was at Maxwell's Belgravia Mews house that Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges Epstein first 'sex trafficked' her to the Prince when she was just 17. It is a charge the Prince has continuously and vehemently denied

It was at Maxwell’s Belgravia Mews house that Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges Epstein first ‘sex trafficked’ her to the Prince when she was just 17. It is a charge the Prince has continuously and vehemently denied

Maxwell lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world. 

Epstein killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He  was initially investigated in Florida and pleaded guilty to state charges in 2008 that allowed him to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. He was free a little after a year in prison.

Maxwell has, for years, been accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges. 

The indictment said that as early as 1994, Maxwell would ‘entice and groom’ minor girls by asking them about their lives, their schools and their families. 

Deborah Blohm, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Gwendolyn Beck at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1995

Deborah Blohm, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Gwendolyn Beck at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1995

Deborah Blohm, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Gwendolyn Beck at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1995

Ghislaine Maxwell, Naomi Campbell, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss attend Dolce & Gabbana Opening at Dolce & Gabbana on November 11, 2002

Ghislaine Maxwell, Naomi Campbell, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss attend Dolce & Gabbana Opening at Dolce & Gabbana on November 11, 2002

Ghislaine Maxwell, Naomi Campbell, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss attend Dolce & Gabbana Opening at Dolce & Gabbana on November 11, 2002

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in 2005. An indictment said she facilitated Epstein's crimes by 'helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ' girls as young as 14. It also said she participated in the sexual abuse

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in 2005. An indictment said she facilitated Epstein's crimes by 'helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ' girls as young as 14. It also said she participated in the sexual abuse

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in 2005. An indictment said she facilitated Epstein’s crimes by ‘helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse ‘ girls as young as 14. It also said she participated in the sexual abuse

Recent years have seen Maxwell quietly holed up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, north of Boston, with tech company boss Scott Borgerson. 

She has not been seen in public since a photograph emerged of her sitting outside an In’N’Out Burger restaurant in Los Angeles in August. Reports soon emerged those images may have been ‘faked’ by her lawyer to disguise her whereabouts.  

Now she must face allegations of conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury. 

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