Jeffery Epstein threatened to expose an affair Bill Gates allegedly had with a Russian bridge player in 2010 after the Microsoft co-founder declined to join his philanthropic venture, a bombshell new report claims. Epstein, reportedly, used his knowledge of the affair and sent a seemingly threatening email to Gates in 2017.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited persons familiar with the situation, the disgraced pedophile—who took his own life in 2019—seemed to threaten Gates in a 2017 email regarding the alleged relationship with Russian card whiz Mila Antonova. Epstein reportedly wanted Gates to invest in a multibillion-dollar charitable fund back in 2013 but he refused to do so.
Gates and the Other Woman
According to reports, Gates allegedly met Antonova at a tournament in 2010 and had an affair with her around the same time. Gates has previously mentioned bridge as one of his favorite pastimes. She was in her 20s, and Gates was 55.
In a 2010 video on her love of bridge, Antonova acknowledged that she was friendly with Gates. However, sources told the Journal that the two had a brief romantic relationship while Gates was still married to his then-wife, Melinda French Gates.
Epstein met Antonova in 2013 when she was seeking funding to launch an online bridge platform., Although he didn't fund the project, Epstein eventually paid for her to enroll in a software coding school.
The 'threat' wasn't made until Epstein wrote to Gates in 2017 asking for reimbursement for Antonova's coding school in a tone that suggested he was aware of the romance and had the ability to make it public.
The email was sent shortly after the tech giant turned down the convicted sex offender's invitation to join his multibillion-dollar organization, insiders told the newspaper.
Gates, 67, previously acknowledged and expressed regret for meeting with Epstein numerous times in the 2010s -- after Epstein was found guilty in Florida in 2008 of soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution—as part of efforts to raise money for the Gates Foundation.
Gates denied paying or reimbursing those fees. "Mr. Gates never had any financial dealings with Epstein. As Bill has said before, it was a mistake to have ever met him," his spokesperson told DailyMail.com on Sunday.
The spokesperson added that Gates met Epstein only for philanthropic purposes but didn't clearly say what kind of relationship Gates shared with Antonova.
"Mr. Gates met with Epstein solely for philanthropic purposes. Having failed repeatedly to draw Mr. Gates beyond these matters, Epstein tried unsuccessfully to leverage a past relationship to threaten Mr. Gates," a spokesperson for Gates said.
A photo of Gates and Antonova together is shown in a 2010 YouTube video where Antonova gives a presentation on the card game and talks about meeting the billionaire at the competition.
She claimed on the video, "I didn't beat him, but I tried to kick him with my leg."
The affair allegedly happened in 2010 when Gates was already married to his ex-wife Melinda Gates.
Then, in 2013, Antonova was introduced to Epstein by Gates' advisor Boris Nikolic in order to help her in raising money to fund the online bridge company known as BridgePlanet, per records obtained by the Journal.
Antonova claimed to the Journal that she had no idea who Epstein actually was when they first met and had assumed that he was simply a "successful businessman who wanted to help."
Antonova said, "I am disgusted with Epstein and what he did," declining to address her alleged affair with Gates.
Following the tournament match with Gates, which the business tycoon won, Antonova was inspired to launch her own company teaching others how to play the game she adored.
"I don't know why he did that," she told the Journal. "When I asked, he said something like, he was wealthy and wanted to help people when he could."
Epstein also gave Antonova an apartment to stay in New York City in 2014. She claimed that during her brief visit, she did not interact with Epstein or anybody else.
According to sources who spoke to the Journal, Epstein appeared to be on damage control after being found guilty of sex crimes and intended to establish a multibillion-dollar philanthropic foundation with Gates as the marquee donor.
Epstein allegedly dropped Gates' name while trying to secure the foundation with JPMorgan Chase, but neither he nor the bank was willing to cooperate.
Sources told the Journal that after being rejected, Epstein sent the billionaire an email demanding payment for Antonova's coding classes, possibly in an attempt to extort money out of Gates over the supposed relationship, which at that point had been over for years.
In statements, Gates, Nikolic, and JPMorgan Chase expressed remorse for ever meeting Epstein to discuss humanitarian endeavors.
The affair with Antonova would be Gates' second reported infidelity during his 27-year marriage to Melinda.
Gates admitted in 2021 through a spokesperson that he had an almost 20-year romance with a Microsoft worker. The relationship, the spokeswoman added, "ended amicably" before Gates left the company to focus on his philanthropy.
According to Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw, the incident was investigated by the company's board in 2019 after they received an email from an engineer.
The woman urged Melinda to read her letter, which revealed the affair and sought changes to her Microsoft employment in the email.
While calls for Gates to resign mounted in response to the email, the tech mogul was nonetheless re-elected to Microsoft's board before he resigned in 2020.
The news of the romance came following multiple reports that Gates awkwardly asked out various women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is still unclear how much Melinda was aware of her husband's alleged actions.