At the heart of the case Jeffrey Epstein, prosecuted for raping minors and found dead in prison last week in New York, is a French, close to the American billionaire, Jean-Luc Brunel, international recruiter of mannequins, accused of rape and to have provided girls to his old friend.
This resounding scandal of teenage sex trafficking is primarily in the United States, including the properties of Mr. Epstein in Manhattan and Florida or aboard his jet nicknamed "Lolita Express".
But part of the facts could take place in his apartment Avenue Foch, near the Arc de Triomphe, long frequented by Jean-Luc Brunel. "It is up to the investigators (...) to shed light on the use of the apartment acquired by Mr. Epstein," said the Innocence Association in danger on 23 July, calling for an investigation at the Paris prosecutor's office.
Jeffrey Epstein, a member of the American jet-set whose entourage counted a time Bill Clinton, Donald Trump or Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, very regularly solicited "massages" which, according to the US survey , turned to forced sex.
In the "massage" section of his address book, revealed in 2015 by the American site Gawker, about thirty names appear in the chapter "France".
All these elements that could lead the Paris prosecutor to open an investigation, as claimed by two members of the government. The public prosecutor's office replied that it was carrying out verifications before deciding on this eventuality.
Jean-Luc Brunel, septuagenarian missing radar, would he be the first concerned by such a procedure in France? The name of the founder in 1978 of the prestigious agency Karin Models, who went to the United States to launch MC2 Model Management, appears indeed since the first survey on Mr. Epstein, in 2007-2008.
Excerpts were revealed in 2015 thanks to civil proceedings launched by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who claims to have been the billionaire's "sex slave" and forced to sleep with Mr. Brunel.
At the time, at least two troubling messages were found by the Florida police, including this one, noted in 2015 by a servant after a phone call from "Jean-Luc": "He has a teacher for you, to teach you to speak Russian, she is 2x8 years old, not blonde.The lessons are free and you can have the first one today if you call. "
For Ms. Giuffre's lawyers, it would be the provision of a 16 year old Russian for one of these suspicious "massages".
- "Drugged and raped" -
"I decided to take legal action in France and the United States against allegations that cause me considerable harm," Brunel told the Guardian in his only known statement. He also lodged a complaint against Mr. Epstein, but none of these proceedings has been successful.
As for the rape charges, models described it as early as 1988 in a CBS documentary. And Mediapart broadcast Tuesday the testimony of a former Dutch model, Thysia Huisman, who claims to have been "drugged and raped" at this time by Mr. Brunel. She was 18 years old.
"We were contacted by several models who were represented by MC2 and Karin about charges of potential sex trafficking and sexual abuse," Sara Ziff, an old supermodel who founded the association in 2012, told AFP. New York Model Alliance, dedicated to the defense of the rights of mannequins.
In the world of modeling, "everyone was aware of these practices for years, but said nothing, there is a kind of omerta", told AFP Ekaterina Ozhiganova, co-founder in France of Model Law Association.
"This is not the first time that people of power enjoy a favorable treatment" guaranteeing impunity for years, notes the 26-year-old model, highlighting the similarity with the Weinstein affair, the scandal that has shaken Hollywood and launched the #MeToo movement in 2017.
"Potential attackers gravitate around these body-related jobs, like modeling," she says. "It allows them to rub elbows with easy prey," she analyzes.
© 2019 AFP