Jeffrey Epstein had no trouble raking in more than $200 million in revenue with his start-up company Southern Trust — just a few years after he registered as a sex offender and his previous company tanked during the financial crisis, according to a new report.
The late financier launched Southern Trust in 2012 with few employees, labeling the business as a DNA data-mining service, The New York Times reported. At the time, Epstein vaguely explained that the company was “basically organizing mathematical algorithms” to gauge customers’ predisposition to cancer, according to the report.
Over the next five years, the company reported more than $200 million in revenues, according to the Times , which examined previously unreported financial statements filed in the Virgin Islands, where he owned two private islands.
The documents document how Epstein rebuilt himself into a financial powerhouse.
Epstein’s earlier money management firm, Financial Trust, peaked at the end of 2004, reporting $563 million in assets and net income of $108 million, the documents reveal. By 2017, the last year for which statements were available, his new firm Southern Trust reported $175 million in retained earnings — leftover profits that can be reinvested, according to the report.
The documents don’t indicate who paid the bulk of money to Epstein’s new venture, just years after the financier spent 13 months behind bars on a charge of soliciting an underage prostitute in Florida. They also give no clues as to why customers would support a man who had made an abrupt switch from financial services to DNA research.
They do indicate that in 2012, Epstein asked the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority to note that Financial Trust no longer managed money, exempting it from registering with federal securities regulators — a requirement under the Dodd-Frank Act.
Financial Trust was replaced by Southern Trust later that year, and Epstein explained to local officials that the venture would still have a “financial arm.”
Unaudited financial statements for both companies — which the Times obtained through a public-records lawsuit against the Virgin Islands’ Division of Corporations and Trademarks reveal that in 2006, the year Epstein was charged in Florida, Financial Trust shifted $117 million into an unnamed subsidiary.
That subsidiary appeared to have been transferred to Southern Trust in 2013 — and ended up accounting for more than half of the company’s $391 million in assets by 2017, according to the statements. The documents also reveal that Southern Trust received a $30.5 loan that same year, but didn’t say where it came from.
Those financial statements and accompanying documents were signed at various times by Darren K. Indyke, a lawyer who incorporated dozens of the financier’s companies, and Richard D. Kahn, a New York accountant, according to the Times.
Both men, listed as executors on Epstein’s will, did not respond to repeated requests from the Times. Their lawyers also did not return messages from the paper.
Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his Metropolitan Correctional Center cell in August as he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges, an official autopsy confirmed.
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