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- Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, has hired an outside law firm to review its relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- Epstein previously managed the money of L Brands CEO and founder, Les Wexner. The two were reportedly once close friends. Wexner said he has "completely severed" ties with Epstein.
- Former L Brands executives told the Journal that Epstein tried to meddle in Victoria’s Secret business, offering input on which women should be models.
- L Brands told the Journal that it does "not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company."
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Victoria’s Secret’s parent company has hired an outside law firm to review its relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Epstein’s relationship with Victoria’s Secret and Les Wexner – the billionaire businessman behind the lingerie firm’s parent company, L Brands – has become a focus of Epstein’s unraveling over the past month.
Epstein was this month arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking underage girls in the early 2000s. The indictment alleged that Epstein molested dozens of underage girls between the years of 1999 and 2005, paying them for "massages" that turned into sexual abuse. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Since then, Epstein’s life and his relationship with high-profile figures such as Wexner have come under the microscope.
Wexner is an important character in the story as he is one of Epstein’s only known clients and is considered to be part of the reason that Epstein rose to prominence. In a lawsuit filed in 2002 by the late artist Nelson Shanks, the two men were described as "close personal friends."
Epstein was responsible for managing Wexner’s money and was apparently at one point given the power of fiduciary over all of his private trusts and foundations, a source told Vanity Fair in 2011.
One Wall Streeter described it as a "weird relationship" in an interview with New York Magazine in 2002. "It’s just not typical for someone of such enormous wealth to all of a sudden give his money to some guy most people have never heard of. The Wexner-Epstein relationship is indeed a multifaceted one," he said.
Former L Brands executives told The Journal that Epstein also attempted to meddle in the business, buying a plane from the company for $10 million and trying to offer input on which women should be Victoria’s Secret models.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
There are entries for both Les Wexner and Ed Razek, L Brands’ chief marketing officer who runs Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show, in Epstein’s little black book. The book was released by Gawker in 2005.
Some of Epstein’s victims have come forward saying that he used his connection to Victoria’s Secret to coerce them into sexual acts.
In an interview with The New York Post, Italian model Elisabetta Tai said she was told that Epstein was "in charge of Victoria’s Secret" and could get her to model for the lingerie company’s catalog. Her booker described him as "one of the most important people in modeling," she said.
Earlier this month, Wexner responded to the Epstein news in a memo to employees saying that he was "never aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment."
"I would never have guessed that a person I employed more than a decade ago could have caused such pain to so many people," he wrote in the memo. "I have searched my soul … reflected … and regretted that my path ever crossed his." He added that he "completely severed" all ties with Epstein 12 years ago.
L Brands did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on its external investigation.
In a statement to The Journal, a spokeswoman said that while Epstein was Wexner’s personal money manager "we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company." She added: "Mr. Epstein’s crimes are abhorrent, and we applaud every effort to bring justice to those harmed."
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