Even as he was serially abusing underage girls, billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein managed to collect a stable of powerful, famous friends: former presidents, prime ministers, lawyers, and scientists with whom he could discuss his plans to improve the human race with his own DNA. But Epstein’s closest pal appears not to have been a prominent politician or top academic, but a sleazy, scandal-prone modeling agent with virtually limitless connections to underage women around the world.
Jean-Luc Brunel, 72, is the former head of Karin Models and Mc2—two well-regarded international modeling agencies that launched the careers of cover girls like Ginta Lapina, Juana Burga and Sessilee Lopez. He has also been accused by former models of drugging and date-raping them, and by former employees of recruiting foreign, underage girls to be pimped out of Epstein’s New York apartments.
Brunel and his attorney did not respond to multiple calls and emails seeking comment. The modeling agent has previously denied any sexual misconduct or involvement in Epstein’s crimes.
“I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager,” Brunel said in a 2015 statement, adding: “I have exercised with the utmost ethical standard for almost 40 years.”
For years prior to Epstein’s apparent suicide this month, Brunel was one of the financier’s most frequent male associates. The agent appears more than 15 times on flight logs from Epstein’s private plane, jetting everywhere from Paris to New York, often in the presence of young women. He visited Epstein nearly 70 times in jail, according to visitor logs, and several more times while the financier was on house arrest in Palm Beach. According to one of Epstein’s housemen, Brunel was comfortable enough to whip up his own meals in the financier’s kitchen, and was one of Epstein’s most frequent callers.
A trove of documents unsealed this month revealed several messages Brunel left for Epstein over the years, dutifully recorded by the financier’s employees and later recovered by investigators. In one message, the notetaker reported that Brunel “just did a good one—18 years,” who reportedly told him, “‘I love Jeffrey.” – READ MORE