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French modeling agent arrested in Jeffrey Epstein investigation

Posted December 17, 2020 6:57 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2020 6:58 p.m. EST

— A French modeling agent has been arrested in Paris as part of an investigation by the city's prosecutor's office connected to accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport on Wednesday, according to prosecutor's office.

He was taken into custody on "counts of rape and sexual assault, rape and sexual assault on a minor under 15, rape and sexual assault on a minor over 15, sexual harassment, criminal associations and human trafficking to the detriment of minor victims for the purposes of sexual exploitation," the Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Brunel's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Paris probe was launched on August 23, 2019 and targets "acts of sexual nature likely to have been committed by Jeffrey Epstein and possible accomplices," the prosecutor's office said.

That same year, prosecutors said the investigation was based on checks and cross-checks carried out on information provided to the public prosecutor's office and exchanges with US authorities.

In 2019, US federal prosecutors alleged that Epstein ran a sex trafficking enterprise between 2002 and 2005 at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. The indictment also said Epstein worked with employees and associates to lure the girls to his residences and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.

Epstein died on August 10, 2019, while awaiting trial in federal prison.

In July this year, Ghislaine Maxwell was charged by New York federal prosecutors with helping recruit, groom and ultimately sexually abuse minors as young as 14 as part of a sex-trafficking ring allegedly operated by Epstein.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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