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Bill Gates and Jeffery Epstein’s friendship has reportedly been a “sore spot” for ex wife Melinda

Bill Gates the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation says he ‘regrets’ meeting with Jeffery Epstein. Gates back in 2019 denied having “any business relationship or friendship” with Epstein, a billionaire financier who died by suicide inside a jail cell that August while awaiting trial on federal conspiracy and sex trafficking charges.

However, Gates and Epstein’s meeting is now again being presented in the limelight, because now sources close to the couple told PEOPLE that his connection with Epstein was a “sore spot” for Gates’s now ex-wife Melinda. The news of the couple’s divorce broke earlier this year.

Bill Gates also addressed his past ties with Epstein when he appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Wednesday, said, “It was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of being there. There were lots of others in that situation, but I made a mistake.”

“I had several dinners with him hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing, that relationship ended,” said Gates, 65.

In 2009, The New York Times reported that Gates first met Epstein after Jeffrey had already served jail time for soliciting prostitution for a minor and was registered as a sex offender.

Though Gates told the Wall Street Journal at the time that he did not have “any business relationship or friendship” with Epstein, the Times reported that beginning in 2011, the two men met multiple times and discussed Epstein’s proposal to help raise funds for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which did not happen.

Now a source close to the couple told PEOPLE that anything involving Epstein was “major trauma” for French Gates, 56. They quoted “She was totally opposed to what she considered shady dealings and some other issues he wanted to pursue in the business area,” the source said. “She was not afraid to speak up about it either.”

As reported by PEOPLE, Gates’ and Epstein’s connection made headlines again in May when a New York Times report claimed he “remarked in Mr. Epstein’s presence that he was unhappy in his marriage” at least one time. The newspaper also reported that Melinda was “unhappy” when the two men’s relationship became public knowledge in 2019, and subsequently consulted with divorce lawyers.

Bill Gates and French Gates’ divorce was finalized earlier this week.

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