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Exclusive: Bill Gates regrets meeting with Jeffrey Epstein

Photo: John van Hasselt/Corbis via Getty Images

Bill Gates, who donated $2 million to the MIT Media Lab at the request of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, told Axios on Monday: "I wish I hadn't met with him."

The big picture: The donation was made in 2014, after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to two state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito resigned Sept. 7 after the extent of his involvement with Epstein was revealed.

Why it matters: A Gates official told Ito, in an email obtained by Axios' Felix Salmon, that Gates wanted the $2 million unrestricted gift to be anonymous.

  • Axios reported that, as far as MIT was concerned, the Gates grant was Epstein money. Epstein met with Ito to determine where it would be spent.

Asked if he feels used by Epstein, Gates told me: "I'd say I didn't have a ... business or personal relationship I wouldn't go that far."

  • "It was a dead end," Gates said in his first comments since his name surfaced among billionaires associated with Epstein.

Gates, at the end of a phone interview about a new Gates Foundation report, "Examining Inequality," said: "I won't say I knew him that well, because he was introduced to me as somebody who could bring more people into philanthropy."

  • "There were meetings along those lines," he continued. "That didn't materialize, and so then I stopped meeting with him."

Go deeper: Axios' full reporting on MIT and Jeffrey Epstein's billionaire enablers