- Jeffrey Epstein told a New York Times reporter that he had advised Tesla CEO Elon Musk during the frenetic few weeks in summer 2018 when Musk had sought to take the electric-car company private.
- According to the newspaper, Epstein had also been approached by Musk or someone close to him who sought his help to find a new chairman to replace Musk.
- The alleged anecdotes from Epstein, among others reported on Monday, add to the picture of the disgraced financier who had been held in federal lockup in New York on sex-trafficking charges until he died of an apparent suicide on Saturday.
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Jeffrey Epstein claimed to have been an adviser to Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk, a New York Times reporter said on Monday, two days after Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide while in federal lockup on sex-trafficking charges.
According to the newspaper, Epstein said he had sought to help Musk find investors during an attempt to take Tesla private one year ago. Epstein also claimed he was approached by Musk or someone close to the electric-car company’s chief executive in their search for a new chairman.
The alleged anecdotes were part of a comprehensive retelling of a confidential August 16, 2018, interview between Stewart and Epstein. Following Epstein’s death, Stewart said he considered the “on background” agreement moot.
The reporter visited with Epstein at his New York home, where the financier talked about his connections with the titans of industry and politics. Epstein claimed that he had friends at Tesla, but never went into much detail, according to The Times.
The multimillionaire financier allegedly cited the fact that his history of sexual misconduct targeting underaged girls made him “radioactive.” (He pleaded guilty to two state counts of soliciting prostitution in 2008, and in July of this year was indicted on one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking related to the alleged abuse of underage girls as young as 14.)
“It is incorrect to say that Epstein ever advised Elon on anything,” a spokesperson for Musk told Business Insider on Monday.
The timing of the interview between the newspaper and Epstein last summer — including Epstein’s claim that he had spoken to the Saudis about investing in Tesla — coincides with a tweet Musk sent on August 13, 2018, in which Musk said he had met with the Saudis a month earlier.
It was not immediately clear if Epstein had spoken to anyone else at, or close to Tesla, and the company did not respond to follow-up questions from Business Insider on that matter.
The Times reporter acknowledged that Epstein was never entirely clear about his claimed interactions with Tesla or Musk.
“While I can’t say anything he said was an explicit lie, much of what he said was vague or speculative and couldn’t be proved or disproved,” he said.