August 12, 2019
The death of Jeffrey Epstein at the weekend has refreshed the focus on the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for sexual abuse by the billionaire financier and others.
Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell, The British Woman Accused Of Helping Jeffrey Epstein Groom Girls?
Epstein, 66, had been awaiting trial after being was charged with numerous sex trafficking offences when he was found dead at a high-security centre in Manhattan.
His alleged suicide came just hours after the release of thousands of documents relating to the case against him, included rafts of allegations against him and other powerful men, including Prince Andrew. 
But 57-year-old Ghislaine Maxwell also features prominently in them. She spent nearly two decades at Epstein’s side and in the wake of his death, the British socialite is facing renewed scrutiny. There’s one small problem, though – nobody seems to know where she is. Her family historyMaxwell’s intriguing story starts long before she began to rub shoulders with Epstein. The youngest daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell – whose empire once included the Mirror Group Newspapers and Macmillan publishers – Maxwell lived a life of privilege from the very beginning, growing up in a 53-room Buckinghamshire mansion before attending the University of Oxford. 
The Maxwell’s family friends included aristocrats, prominent British politicians (thanks to Robert’s time as an MP) and – allegedly – Donald Trump. But in 1991, shortly after Maxwell had moved to New York, tragedy struck. 
On November 5, 1981, her father mysteriously died after falling from his yacht, named the Lady Ghislaine, with his naked body being recovered from the ocean near the Canary Islands the day after he fell. 
It took two post mortems to decide the cause of death was heart failure but the reason why Maxwell made his way to the back of the boat in the night, after radioing the crew from his cabin, remains unclear. 
As the Independent previously reported, numerous shocking revelations came to light in the days after Maxwell’s death, as it was revealed that he was in millions of pounds of debt and had embezzled funds from his employees’ pension funds, leaving the Maxwell empire in tatters. 
Ghislaine moved to a “modest Eastside apartment”, reports the New York Times, but when Epstein came into her life, luxury was on the cards once again. Association with Epstein Maxwell’s relationship with Epstein is widely reported to have began in 1992 and at first, was romantic. 
The date of their split is unclear but even more murky is the role Maxwell took on afterwards. The pair remained close friends (with Epstein describing her as “his best friend” in a 2003 Vanity Fair profile) but on top of this, Maxwell appeared to play a role in many other areas of Epstein’s life.She was also a frequent traveller on Epstein’s private plane, which was nicknamed the “Lolita Express”, while his private island in the US Virgin Islands was sometimes referred to as “Orgy Island” or the “Island of Sin”.
In legal depositions, she has been called everything from his “main girlfriend”,  who was allegedly in charge of hiring all staff in his various mansions, to the “lady of the house” and an “aggressive assistant”. Maxwell has denied these claims. The accusations against Maxwell While Maxwell has never faced criminal charges, she has been the subject of civil lawsuits – often named alongside Epstein. 
In 2015, a woman later revealed to be Virginia Roberts Giuffre sued Maxwell, claiming she recruited her to have sex with Epstein in 1999, when she was still a minor. Roberts also alleged that Maxwell and Epstein had trafficked other underage girls to parties at the latter’s mansion. Maxwell has persistently denied these claims, and any involvement in Epstein’s crimes. This lawsuit was settled out of court but it has recently come back to haunt Maxwell.
On Friday – hours before Epstein’s death – unsealed court documents revealed new details about her alleged involvement in sex trafficking. 
In the papers, Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, said she was approached “perfect stranger” Maxwell, who “lured” her to Epstein’s home with the promise of a “legitimate job” in 2001. 
Sjoberg said that once she was at the party, Prince Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment. 
Buckingham Palace said the allegations are “categorically untrue” and Maxwell has also denied the allegations.
A second lawsuit against Maxwell and Epstein was lodged in 2016, from a woman who claimed the former hired her to give the billionaire massages and threatened her if she did not meet his sexual demands. This case was settled out of court in 2018. Where is she? When Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008, Maxwell appeared to cut ties with him and the pair were never seen in public together again, but she remained on the social scene, attending everything from Chelsea Clinton’s wedding and to Oscars parties.
In 2012, she founded a conversation charity, the TerraMar Project, speaking at the United Nations and giving a TED talk on the topic. 
After the 2015 lawsuit, Maxwell began to step back from public life and has not been photographed at an event since 2016. That same year, her New York townhouse was sold. 
Just days after Epstein’s arrest in July 2018, The TerraMar Project was shut down. Maxwell’s whereabouts remain publicly unknown.  READ MORE... There Are 'Thousands And Thousands' Of Other Documents On Epstein Case That Could Implicate Co-Conspirators: Report Claims The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal Explained For Brits Prince Andrew Groped Young Woman At Epstein Apartment, Court Documents Allege
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