France places former Jeffrey Epstein employees under formal investigation into rape, sexual harassment

French prosecutors said on Saturday that they had accused and imprisoned a former close associate of the disgraced American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the prominent French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, for alleged sex crimes.

Brunel was charged with rape of minors over the age of 15 and sexual harassment, a statement from the prosecutor’s office said. He was originally arrested on Wednesday at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on board a flight to Senegal.

Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July 2019 on charges of human trafficking for underage girls for sex, was found hanged in his prison cell in New York the following month while he was on trial for abusing girls in his Palm Beach home and on his private island in The Caribbean.

His ownership of an apartment in an exclusive Paris district and accusations from women who say they were beaten in France prompted French prosecutors to launch their own investigation.

The probe has focused on Brunel, who in American legal documents has been accused of rape and procuring young girls for her friend.

(AFP)