Jeffrey Epstein investigation expands to France, Caribbean

Aug. 13 (UPI) — The investigation into accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has branched out overseas — as authorities are now examining his properties in France and the Caribbean.

French authorities said they have initiated an investigation into the billionaire, who was found dead in his New York City jail cell last weekend. U.S. officials suspect he hanged himself during a period of time he wasn’t monitored.

Epstein owned an apartment in Paris and U.S. authorities have connected him to several French nationals. He was arrested last month after returning from France.

French Secretary of State for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa and Secretary of State for Child Protection Adrien Taquet ordered the investigation.

“His death in prison ends the preparation of the trial initially scheduled to take place in 2020 and hence leaves numerous questions unanswered,” they said in a joint statement. “The American investigation shed light on links with France. It, therefore, seems fundamental to us, and for the victims, that an investigation should be opened in France so that all the light is shed on the matter.”

U.S. authorities say they’ve also raided a private island owned by Epstein in the U.S. Virgin Islands, NBC News reported. The island, which Epstein bought for $8 million in 1998, is located off the St. Thomas coast. It includes a 24,000-square foot mansion with pools and a spa.

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