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Wexner Says Epstein 'Misappropriated' Millions Of Family Money

Leslie Wexner receives the Woodrow Wilson Award in July 2008.
Wikimedia Commons

For the first time, billionaire Central Ohio businessman Les Wexner is revealing some of the financial fallout that led to the end of his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.Last month, Epstein pleaded not guilty to charges of one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy.

In a letter to members of the Wexner Foundation, the L Brands founder says Epstein "misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family,” and a $47 million donation Epstein made to the foundation represents a portion of that money.

Beginning in the 1980s, Epstein was alongtime financial adviser for Wexner, and at some point was given power of attorney over Wexner's vast fortune. Before their split, Epstein also served as a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, and both men were once listed as presidents of the New Albany Foundation.

The letter says Wexner moved to cut ties with Epstein once the discovery was made in 2007. It's unclear whether Wexner reported the allegations to law enforcement.

“I am embarrassed that, like so many others, I was deceived by Mr. Epstein. I know now that my trust in him was grossly misplaced and I deeply regret having ever crossed his path,” the letter says.

Epstein was arrested July 6 after his private plane landed at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and was taken to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

From at least 2002 to 2005, Epstein "enticed and recruited" girls as young as 14 to his houses in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla., to engage in sex acts with him, according to an indictment. He allegedly paid some of the girls to recruit others in order to "maintain and increase his supply of the victims.”

Wexner previously said he was not aware of Epstein's behavior, and was "sickened" by the alleged abuse.