Ehud Barak met with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and convicted sex criminal who faces new sex trafficking charges, at least 10 times, but never met him "in the company of women or young girls," the former prime minister and Democratic Israel chairman told The Daily Beast in an interview published on Monday.
Epstein invested millions in Carbyne, the Israeli start-up in which Barak is the controlling shareholder and board chair.
Barak also said he had never attended a party with Epstein and that he had been introduced to him "about 17 years ago" by Shimon Peres at an event with hundreds of guests. He acknowledged that he had visited Epstein at two of his homes and at his private Caribbean island "once, for several hours – and years after the publications about sex parties or orgies there."
The Democratic Israel chairman said over the weekend that he will consider breaking off his business relations with Epstein.
“For almost five years, a company associated with Epstein has been a passive investor in a limited partnership, legally registered in Israel and under my control,” wrote Barak on his Facebook page. “Every investor in this partnership is bound by the same commercial contract. As soon as the present charges related to Epstein became known, I instructed my lawyers to examine the options we have for expelling the company associated with Epstein from this partnership," wrote Barak.
In 2008, Epstein was convicted of procuring a 14-year-old girl for the purpose of prostitution, for which he served 13 months in prison. Last week he was arrested and charged with trafficking and accused of luring dozens of girls – some as young as 14 – for the purpose of paying them for sex.