Billionaire investor buys Epstein’s private islands for $90 million

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A billionaire investor with ties to the US Virgin Islands paid $US60 million ($90 million) to buy Jeffrey Epstein’s island residences off the coast of St Thomas — closing another chapter in the financial dealings of the disgraced financier who died by suicide in 2019 in a New York jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

The investor, Stephen Deckoff, paid roughly 50 per cent less for the two private islands than the price that was listed last year by Epstein’s estate. A portion of the sale proceeds will go toward a $US105 million settlement that Epstein’s estate reached last year with the government of the US territory in the Caribbean.

Little St James, Jeffrey Epstein’s private island is in the Virgin Islands. Credit: Gianfranco Gaglione

Deckoff is the founder of Black Diamond Capital Management, an investment firm with $US9 billion under management and offices in Stamford, Connecticut, London, Mumbai, India, and St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. He acquired the islands through an investment vehicle called SD Investments.

Deckoff, in a news release, said he planned to build a 25-room resort on the islands. The news of the sale was first reported by Forbes. A lawyer for Epstein’s estate confirmed the sale but declined to comment further.

One of the islands — Little St James — was where Epstein lived for the better part of two decades and became tarnished by allegations that it had been a place where he sexually abused teenage girls. The other island — Great St James — is less developed.

The release did not specify on which island Deckoff intended to build his resort.

At the time of Epstein’s death, his estate was valued at around $US600 million. When the estate reached a civil settlement with the Virgin Islands government, its assets had fallen in worth to about $US159 million. In the years since Epstein’s death, the estate paid out more than $US160 million to more than 125 victims of his sexual abuse that had spanned decades. Many of Epstein’s victims were young girls.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl. Before and after he became a registered sex offender, the secretive financier managed to forge close associations with a long list of wealthy men, politicians and celebrities.

An affiliated entity of Black Diamond is listed as a beneficiary of a lucrative tax incentive that is intended to spur economic development in the US Virgin Islands. The tax incentive has been granted to dozens of businesses with operations in the territory.

Two of Epstein’s companies, when they were in operation, were beneficiaries of similar tax incentives from the Virgin Islands government.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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