NEW YORK, NY – A French modeling agent who had been a close associate of disgraced U.S. financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday, where he was being held on allegations that he had raped minors and trafficked them for sexual exploitation, as per the Paris prosecutor’s office.
Jean-Luc Brunel was alleged to have been an active part of Epstein’s infamous sex trafficking circle, and had been detained at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 by French authorities as a part of the investigation into U.S. sex-trafficking charges against Epstein, which included the alleged sexual exploitation of women and underage girls.
Before Epstein’s death by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting sex-trafficking charges, he traveled often to France and had apartments in Paris, reports say.
The exact circumstances of the death of Brunel have not been revealed, and the prosecutor’s office has not issued a comment on the matter, other than confirming that it is under investigation. However, some have noted the eerie similarities with Epstein’s own passing under the same circumstances.
Many of Brunel’s purported victims – including Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s U.S. accusers –claimed Brunel had lured them to France with promises of modeling work; Brunel, Epstein and his associates would instead use them for sex, they said.
Part of this underage sex circle allegedly included Britain’s Prince Andrew, who recently settled a case filed against him by Giuffre for $16 million after she accused him of sexual abuse when she was 17.
Prior to his death, Brunel had denied any wrongdoing and had stated that he was willing to cooperate with the probe, which was originally opened in 2019; since that time, Brunel’s accusers have criticized Paris police for their investigation’s slow pace.
Brunel’s death has been described by the many women who identified themselves as his victims as causing them “shock and dismay” because now the modeling agent – who was in his 70’s – will never face trial.
According to reports, the family of Ghislaine Maxwell, a former business associate and girlfriend to Epstein, also found guilty of multiple counts of sex trafficking and sexual abuse of minors and is also confined to a prison cell, are in fear for her safety.