Two middle-aged vacationers walk into a fashion boutique in one of the playgrounds of that exotic millionaire where the sun always shines and endless palm trees wave in the afternoon breeze.
One is Jeffrey Epstein, a mysterious financier fond of very young girls, many of whom have been systematically exploited and sexually abused in his various luxury homes for years.
The other is Peter Mandelson, the former British cabinet minister and long-term friend of Epstein & # 39; s best friend Ghislaine Maxwell, who stayed on the luxury resort island of St Barts.
Peter Mandelson shops with Jeffrey Epstein on December 27, 2005 in St. Barts
His journey through public life has been interrupted twice by scandals involving incredibly rich men.
The year is 2005 and Mandelson is relieved of his duties as European Union Trade Commissioner, for which taxpayers pay him a salary of more than £ 200,000 a year.
Epstein (not yet familiar with the world) is being investigated by the police for countless horrific sex crimes. In the meantime, he does what he does best: pursuing a Gatsby-like friendship with a famous and powerful man.
Pleasant journey: Peter Mandelson tries leather belt in a Caribbean boutique while pedophile Jeffrey Epstein watches
Guests who have spent time on his nearby private island of Little St James, a beautiful 72-acre stretch of the US Virgin Islands, have included a virtual Who & # 39; s Who of celebrities – from Bill Clinton to Naomi Campbell, Stephen Hawking and , perhaps the most notorious, our own prince Andrew. During various trips to Chateau Epstein, they spent days or even weeks sunbathing on his private beaches, swimming in his pools or playing tennis on his personal job.
When things begin to feel claustrophobic, Epstein & # 39; s guests enjoy the high life even more, taking one of his yachts or helicopters for island-hopping trips where they dine in luxury restaurants, or enjoy a little shopping therapy in the smart smart from a Caribbean tax haven as a little overpriced mall.
All this brings us back to Mandelson. He has known the generous host in these photos for several years, after having previously visited his Caribbean island for a vacation – when neither Epstein nor any of the girls were there – and dining on different occasions with different celebrities in his $ 77 million New York mansion filled with erotic art and lurid photos of young women.
Both men share a love for flashy designer clobber. To this end, Mandelson, with a £ 21,000 Patek Philippe watch (almost two months of his after-tax income), can be seen in a Caribbean boutique trying a chic white leather belt.
It is the perfect accessory to complete his nautical Man From Del Monte-style holiday ensemble, which includes a beautiful white bracelet, white linen shorts and a blue shirt with short sleeves. Epstein watches with a kind of patented joy. As good as he is. Because this man has devoted years to building pleasant (and, as a financier, potentially very profitable) relationships with the most powerful men in the world.
… and on & # 39; paedo is land, Mandelson & # 39; s friend Ghislaine Maxwell (right) hugs the infamous fixer of Epstein, Jean-Luc Brunel (left)
The hitherto unknown shopping tour of Mandelson and Epstein took place on December 27, 2005, six months before the now infamous Epstein was arrested in Florida and accused of a series of sexual crimes against children.
Details have emerged and can now be reported, thanks to two of the extraordinary pictures shown on this pages.
They are part of a remarkable and never before seen cache that gives a visual account of the daily life in the high-octane (and somewhat shady) job of the morally bankrupt billionaire who died in prison this month while being prosecuted on multiple counts of pedophilia and child trafficking.
Received by the Mail from a source with detailed knowledge of events on Little St James – now nicknamed "pedophile island" and "orgy island" – the photo raises difficult questions for Mandelson and some of the closest collaborators of Epstein.
There are several images of Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who orchestrated the social life of the billionaire, introduced him to Prince Andrew and was widely accused (in several lawsuits and this week in New York court) of recruiting teenage girls for the prostitution of Epstein ring.
Sordid: Epstein used a quad to transport teenage girls
Maxwell, the daughter of the crooked newspaper magnate Robert, who has previously denied misconduct, appears in several eye-catching images, including one on this page showing her in Epstein & # 39; s main residence on Little St James. It was taken shortly after Christmas 2006.
That date is considerable. It was only six months after Epstein was accused of abusing a large number of teenage girls. He was busy putting together a legal superstar team that was in control to prevent him from serving a substantial prison sentence.
Yet he hardly seems to have a concern in the world. Indeed, with extraordinary chutzpah, he and Maxwell can hang around with various alleged & # 39; sex slaves & # 39; who had flown to the island for the New Year holiday.
Most girls, whose photos cannot be printed (as victims, they should not be identified), appear to be in the late teens. Equally annoying for Maxwell is the fact that she can be seen embracing Jean-Luc Brunel, a French boss of a modeling agency who (again in multiple lawsuits and this week in a New York court) is accused of helping road teenagers.
Brunel, now 72, is said to have used his fashion company in recently disclosed legal documents to provide the billionaire with a steady supply of influenceable young women who were subsequently sexually abused. In exchange, Epstein would have invested in his companies. Now under investigation, he has also denied misconduct.
Then European Commissioner for External Trade Peter Mandelson and Prince Andrew, Duke of York
& # 39; As you can see in the pictures, Jean-Luc and Ghislaine were the best friends and worked very closely with the girls they brought to Jeffrey & said the source said. Every time they were on the island, they managed groups of girls, told them what to do, how to do it, how to please Jeffrey, and instructed how to behave towards his guests. & # 39;
To this end – although it must be emphasized once again that Maxwell and Brunel have always refused crime – they have been accused of committing horrifying crimes in a series of court cases and witness statements filed in the US in recent months.
Most notably, Brunel (who was further accused of sexual violence by three women who were interviewed by The Guardian last month) appears in recently disclosed judicial documents claiming he once had three 12-year-old girls from France to the US brought to give erotic massages for Epstein, as a nasty birthday present.
Epstein shows a fourth photo from the cache obtained by the Mail, then in his 50s, touring his island on a quad. He used the machine regularly to transport topless teenagers to and from the beach, and to visit an outdoor temple he had built near a corner of the island where he reportedly committed various sexual crimes.
Other images provide more insight into life on Little St James and reveal, for example, that Perspex boxes filled with condoms were kept in guest rooms.
& # 39; You hear so many people who were there, or who knew and spent time with Epstein, who now said: & # 39; Oh, we never suspected that something bad happened & # 39 ;, or & # 39; We never thought the girls were being exploited & # 39 ;, the source adds.
"The photos show how absurd those claims are. Epstein, a man in his fifties, surrounded himself with teenagers.
European Commissioner for External Trade Peter Mandelson (back) welcomes Prince Andrew, Duke of York prior to their bilateral meeting on 7 June 2007 at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels
& # 39; If you sat there with a glass of champagne at sunset, or ate crab cakes at lunch, and you saw the young girls being made to parade around and being asked to give people massages, you should have been blind to to think there was something not wrong.
"There is no way a righteous person could have spent time with Epstein on Little St James and thought some things were alright at a distance."
This island was a place where some of & # 39; the world's most famous and powerful men and women found fit to accept freebie vacations.
Cathy Alexander, who worked there as a housekeeper, told the Mail On Sunday in a 2011 interview that Andrew was visiting a tall, busty, blond woman who shared his room in the early 2000s. Alexander remembered that the prince's partner was "a brain surgeon."
She further told reporters that Mandelson's visit saw his partner, Reinaldo, undergo severe sunburn. All this raises a few questions about character. Among them: what the hell did Mandelson and the duke (prominent public figures on the taxpayer's payroll) have to accept the hospitality of a mysterious foreign billionaire whose wealth was of unknown origin? What did they think Epstein had gained from the transaction?
Epstein, depicted in a prison mugshot in 2017
The Duke never explained it well and chose instead to issue a series of self-sufficient PR statements about his friendship with the convicted pedophile, which continued even after Epstein was released from prison.
Mandelson, who nowadays deserves a crust in the world-famous lobbying world, is silent for a moment: he refused to answer questions that the Mail had asked about his dealings with the convicted pedophile.
Andrew and Mandelson have happened to be friends for a long time, after they had met shortly after New Labor took office in the late nineties. Interestingly, the duo often socialized with each other in subsequent years. They also have common friendships with a number of foreign billionaires.
Mandelson and the prince's chumminess first made headlines in 1999, when it was reported that Mandelson regularly dined in the prince's house, Sunninghill. He then agreed to participate in Andrew & # 39; s "full stop" NSPCC campaign against child abuse, showing a series of fundraisers where the duke was present.
In 2000, both Mandelson and Andrew, in another overlapping social relationship, were not only guests, but also two of the witnesses at the marriage of merchant banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild to Lynn Forester. She is an American entrepreneur who was an old friend of Epstein.
More importantly, the following year the prince was appointed as a British commercial ambassador.
At the time it was reported that Mandelson was a key figure in the lobby for the duke, who had recently left the Royal Navy, to get the job out of The Guardian, the Mail and the French news agency AFP. (Friends of Mandelson now deny that this was the case.)
Both were on Epstein's radar at this stage, apparently introduced to his decadent world through Maxwell. Andrew was busy inviting the dubious financier (and his female companions) to Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral.
In the meantime, Mandelson accepted Epstein & # 39; s hospitality during glamorous dinners in Manhattan.
A 2002 report in the New York magazine stated that the "British Cabinet Minister" had attended an intimate dinner at New York's Epstein House, alongside a colorful collection of guests, including Donald Trump, magician David Blaine and Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. It added that food was cooked by famous chef Rocco DiSpirito, for an amount of $ 50,000 for Epstein.
Strangely enough, Mandelson – then a servant of parliament – did not seem fit to explain the expensive hospitality he received in the Commons register of interests – although he recorded other events he attended during a 2002 visit to New York.
Mandelson did not comment when he was asked for an explanation this week. More generally, one acquaintance said, however, that Labor politician Epstein in total & # 39; not more than five or six times & # 39; met in the years he was known, and added that & Peter only knows him because of a friendship with Ghislaine, whom he met in the 1980s and has known since then.
"It was Ghislaine, not Epstein, who invited him to Little St James when he stayed on the island with Reinaldo. Epstein was not there during that stay, and there were no girls or what do you have.
& # 39; No matter how bad it looks now, there was nothing about the visit that could make him believe that something went wrong. & # 39;
The photo of the shopping trip was also taken because of Ghislaine, the knowledge added. "Peter was staying at St Barts that Christmas, and it's pretty close to the US Virgin Islands, so she enjoyed flying Jeffrey out to see him in a helicopter for a day. It is clear that the photo was taken, and in the current climate it looks bad, but it is more bad choreography than something sinister. & # 39;
Whatever the case, both Mandelson and Andrew are common in the now infamous & # 39; little black booklet & # 39; of contacts that Epstein kept at home around the time they visited his different houses.
Currently in possession of the FBI, it contains ten numbers for the politician, including numbers marked with & # 39; home & # 39 ;, & # 39; country & # 39; and & # 39; Peter & # 39; s direct line & # 39 ;, and no less than 16 for the Duke of York, including personal contact information at Sandringham and other royal residences.
Only a small part of the people in that book are mentioned with more than one or two contact numbers.
Like Andrew, Mandelson also met Virginia Roberts, a victim of Epstein who was photographed with the duke and claims that he had had sex with him three times in the early 2000s (allegations Andrew disputes). "I've never heard of Jeffrey knowing Tony Blair, but he did know Peter Mandelson," Roberts told an interviewer in 2011.
"I remember that he (Mandelson) was at the New York house and I was introduced to him at a dinner party.
"He and Jeffrey spoke about business. I assumed they were doing business together. I was never asked to give him (Mandelson) a massage. & # 39;
Later in the 2000s, when Mandelson was European Trade Commissioner and Andrew his British counterpart, the duo became familiar with the turbocharged world in which Epstein and other & # 39; masters of the universe & # 39; lived.
They were regularly photographed together at Davos and events such as the Russian Economic Forum, a conference in London praised Andrew in 2005 as guest of honor and Mandelson as keynote speaker.
They also built somewhat dark bonds with other rich men of – we say – a colorful origin.
Take the Government of Kazakhstan, for example. Both Mandelson and Andrew agreed for some reason in 2009 to attend the 30th birthday party of Goga Ashkenazi, the socialist mistress of son-in-law Timur Kulibayev of President Nazarbayev.
In 2007, Kulibayev had purchased the aforementioned Prince Andrew Sunninghill and paid £ 3 million over the asking price of £ 12 million in a deal that was never properly explained. In 2010, he added Mandelson to his payroll and paid him to speak at an event organized by Samruk-Kazyna, the private equity fund of the central Asian country.
In another controversial bond with oil-rich foreigners, both Mandelson and the prince have forged ties with Saif Gaddafi, the hugely rich son of the late Libyan despot who tried to bring huge amounts of cash to the United Kingdom of New Labor.
However, it is revelations regarding their relationships with Epstein that now have the potential to generate the ugliest headlines – not least because Mail investigations reveal that both men came across the shamed financier after serving a prison sentence for sexual crimes against children (albeit in very different circumstances.)
Famously, Andrew stayed in the condemned pedophilia mansion in New York in 2010, where he organized a dinner party and was photographed while walking with Epstein in Central Park.
A year later Mandelson met the sex offender certified by the court.
"Peter was invited to a meeting by Ghislaine in 2011," says a friend. "She's a very old friend, so he went with him. But when he showed up, Epstein was there. It was a complete accident and a great pity, but for obvious reasons he is very concerned about what it might look like now. & # 39;
Despite the incident, Mandelson agreed in 2014 to be one of the & # 39; founding citizens & # 39; to become a TerraMar charity founded by Maxwell with the financial support of Epstein.
In an approval published on his website, he stated: "The oceans and water policy will generally be one of the defining issues of the 21st century … so I support the new TerraMar initiative."
Sources close to the peer now say he did & as a favor to Ghislaine because they were old friends & # 39 ;.
They further deny that there was anything unusual in his decision to secretly accept hospitality from the financier in the years that he was on the public payroll with European trade.
"He was a trade commissioner, who deals with issues such as production, and has nothing to do with the financial markets where Epstein was active. There is nothing legally wrong with what he did, and it is a result of bad luck, rather than a bad character.
"And it is clear that he is a gay man, so a saving grace is that no one can suspect that he slept with one of the girls from Epstein.
"The problem for Peter is that Epstein is so completely toxic that anyone who has anything to do with him is caught in the fall-out. This is now going to be a witch hunt. & # 39;
Similar claims have been made in recent days (with less justification) by supporters of Prince Andrew. So it is interesting to note that Mandelson was present at a reception at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2015, when the duke used a speech to deny allegations that he had slept with the aforementioned Roberts.
While the media were looking at the world, Andrew's remarks about denying misconduct consisted of 46 words and lasted only 37 seconds.
Undoubtedly, he hoped that the uncomfortable occasion would put an end to the unworthy mention of his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. But that's not how it went.
As the following four years have shown, this is a matter that becomes more damaging with every new revelation about the life, times and bizarre connections of the billionaire pedophile with friends in high places.
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