What did Jeffrey Epstein do for his millions? From the New York Times news section today:
Mr. Epstein specialized in aggressively pitching ways to minimize paying taxes. And not just to Mr. Black, the private equity chief executive who was his main benefactor in his later years.
By Matthew Goldstein and Steve Eder
Jan. 26, 2021
… The answer: help rich people pay less in taxes.
In the case of Mr. Black, the chief executive of Apollo Global Management, his advice could have been worth as much as $2 billion in savings, according to a law firm’s review of Mr. Black’s business dealings with Mr. Epstein. On Monday, Mr. Black announced that he would step down as Apollo’s chief executive this year after the review found he had paid Mr. Epstein $158 million over five years for his services.
Mr. Epstein’s specialty was suggesting ways for wealthy clients to use sophisticated trusts and other investment vehicles to reduce their tax liability while passing on assets to their children, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with 11 people familiar with his work. In the process, he collected hefty fees — usually based on a cut of the anticipated tax savings.
In the years after 2008, when Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to prostitution charges involving a teenage girl, he often advised clients on the use of grantor retained annuity trusts, or GRATs, according to three people familiar with his work. …
Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who has led corruption investigations for several Senate committees, said he was surprised by the size of the fees Mr. Epstein’s work commanded. “You could be the best lawyer in Manhattan working on the most complicated trusts and estates and it would never come anywhere close to that kind of money,” he said.
The Dechert report conceded that the compensation that Mr. Black had paid to Mr. Epstein “far exceeded any amounts” paid to his other professional advisers. …
Mr. Epstein frequently functioned as an ideas generator who would then outsource some of the work to high-powered law firms or to his clients’ current financial and tax advisers, according to five people familiar with the arrangements.
That was how it worked when Mr. Epstein advised a technology executive on a tax matter, according to a representative of the executive who agreed to discuss the matter on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Epstein offered his help after learning that the executive — an acquaintance he once deemed not rich enough to qualify for his services — needed help reducing his taxes on a large stock grant from his employer. The executive believed Mr. Epstein was offering his services as a favor to a friend, because Mr. Epstein referred much of the work to a large law firm, which billed the executive for the assignment.
The executive and Mr. Epstein had never discussed any payment, according to the representative, so the executive was surprised when Mr. Epstein sent his own bill — for a sum that was 10 percent of the tax dollars saved. The executive initially balked but ultimately paid up to avoid a public spat with Mr. Epstein and never worked with him again.
The term whitewashing blackmail comes to mind. Paying 10% for somebody who suggests to you, “You should do a grantor retained annuity trust. Here’s a law firm who is good at it. They’ll handle the details, ” is not normally done. But paying 10% on this seemingly above-board matter to Epstein after he has blackmailable material on you seems plausible.
And from the Washington Post news section:
By Shayna Jacobs
Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:16 p.m. PST
NEW YORK — Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell, the wealthy socialite whose longtime relationship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein led to her arrest on charges she recruited and groomed his victims, are seeking the case’s dismissal on grounds the grand jury chosen to indict her was too White — a move legal experts called valid even though Maxwell is not a minority.
In pretrial motions filed late Monday night, Maxwell’s legal team said the grand jury empaneled last year in suburban Westchester County was improperly seated and lacked diversity — and that Manhattan, where the case is pending in federal court and where there is a higher concentration of minorities, should have been the venue. …
Maxwell, 59, has British and French citizenship and is the daughter of late media mogul Robert Maxwell.
Ghislaine is, by nature and nurture, a Bond Villain-American.
… Vincent Southerland, executive director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at the New York University School of Law, said Maxwell’s claim is viable and could result in U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan dismissing the indictment — although prosecutors would probably have a chance to present the case again to a fresh grand jury panel, should the judge rule in Maxwell’s favor.
Under the law, juries and grand juries must represent a fair cross-section of the community where the alleged crime occurred. Challenges like the one made by Maxwell’s lawyers are fairly routine during jury selection at trial. The grand jury process is secret, but the Sixth Amendment protection still firmly applies.
“The fact that she’s a White woman raising this claim about having a grand jury pool that’s not representative of the jurisdiction where she’s being tried — while it might be jarring on its face, it’s kind of well within the bounds of the ways in which these type of claims get raised,” Southerland said.
Maxwell should not have to prove there was any intent to compose a grand jury a certain way, Southerland said, adding that, if she is successful, the ruling could open doors for claims to be brought by other, less fortunate defendants.