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Jeffrey Epstein’s estate agrees to pay $105m to US Virgin Islands

Jeffrey Epstein’s estate has agreed to pay the US Virgin Islands more than $105m (£86.8m) as part of a settlement in a sex trafficking and child exploitation case.

As part of the agreement, the estate will also pay the US territory half the proceeds from the sale of Little St James, Epstein’s private island which he bought in 1998 and allegedly used for many of his sexual crimes.

It will pay a further $450,000 (£372,000) to address damages on a separate island owned by the disgraced financier – with NBC quoting the US Department of Justice as saying he had “razed the remains of centuries-old historical structures of enslaved workers to make room for his development” there.

The settlement – which does not include any admission of wrongdoing – includes the return of more than $80m ($66m) in economic development tax benefits that Epstein and others had “fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise”.

Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George said in a news release: “This settlement restores the faith of the people of the Virgin Islands that its laws will be enforced, without fear or favour, against those who break them.

“We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking.”

In a statement reported by NBC, Epstein estate lawyer Daniel Weiner said: “The co-executors ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interests of the estate, including its creditors and claimants, to avoid the time, expense and inherent uncertainties of protracted litigation.

“The settlement is consistent with the co-executors’ stated intent and practice since their appointments to those roles – to resolve claims related to any misconduct by Jeffrey Epstein in a manner sensitive to those who suffered harm.”

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Image: Little St James Island

Mr Weiner also said the estate intends to “wind down its remaining activities” in the islands “as soon as practicable” and that $121m (£100m) had been paid in compensation to 136 people over Epstein’s activities.

The Virgin Islands brought a civil claim against Epstein’s estate in 2020, alleging he was behind a criminal enterprise through which young women and girls were trafficked, raped, sexually assaulted and held captive at Little St James.

Epstein was 66 when he killed himself in a Manhattan jail in 2019, a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges.

That came more than a decade after his conviction for soliciting prostitution from a minor, for which he became a registered sex offender.

Last year, his former partner Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of recruiting teenage girls for him to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004.

She was sentenced to 20 years in jail.