The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein remain something of a sordid mystery movie.
More than 10 months since his shocking death, it is still unclear how the disgraced financier rose through the ranks to amass a "black book" of high-profile contacts and world leaders, why he was able to enter such a quietly-negotiated sweetheart plea deal in 2007 despite a sex offender conviction, the conditions of which he was left to supposedly take his own life in a Manhattan jail cell, and precisely how the self-styled "billionaire financier" made his many millions.
A recently released book purports to shed light at least on the latter, revealing that he may have made at least some big bucks – and granted something of a free pass for his decades of wrongdoing – through covert intelligence actions.
While the notion of Epstein as a "spy" has long run rampant in the rumor mill, the book "Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales" – authored by Dylan Howard, Melissa Cronin, and James Robertson – proclaims that he had ties to Mossad, the Israeli national intelligence agency.
"When we set out to write a book about his crimes, we thought we knew the whole story. Before long, however, what we uncovered was compelling evidence that Jeffrey Epstein was a spy—largely for Israel's Mossad—and allowed to operate in the United States seemingly without consequence," Dylan Howard told Fox News. "This is a much bigger story than the world has ever known and is continually being ignored or glossed over in much of the new reporting about Epstein."
Indeed, Epstein's political associations over the years were numerous – ranging from President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and the U.K's Prince Andrew and former Prime Minister Tony Blair to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
"He (Epstein) used his power to exploit the vulnerable and underaged, all the while covering his tracks within the innermost circles of the establishment. He used his access to trap the rich and famous, and traded in the dirt he had on them to the world's most secretive intelligence agencies," Howard continued. "The conclusion of our reporting is clear: Epstein was a spy, running a complex intelligence operation for the purpose of blackmailing powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad. But for whom?"
Epstein himself was purportedly known to tell others that he "had dirt on powerful people," raising red flags as to whether prominent individuals were either lured into his illicit sex ring and then forced to pay up or keep quiet.
Soon after Epstein was arrested by federal officials at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey last year on a fresh round of trafficking charges, then-U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta came under fire for his role in overseeing the 2007 Epstein deal while U.S. Attorney in Miami.
Acosta, who resigned amid the firestorm, later said he was told to back off as Epstein's deal was being forged because the disgraced financier "belonged to intelligence," the Daily Beast reported.
Moreover, questions still swirl as it pertains to his once girlfriend and confidante, Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been widely accused of aiding his solicitation of underage girls for sex, and how and why she has flown under-the-radar since his arrest by the FBI last summer and his subsequent death.
A Page Six report earlier this year cited an unnamed source indicating that she had intelligence ties of her own, thus is "protected because of the information she has on the world's most powerful people" and was being kept in "safe houses."
Similarly, Maxwell's own father – British press baron Robert Maxwell – was plagued by conspiracies that he, too, was an undercover intelligence operative for Israel. His 1991 death was ruled a suicide, and at the time he was suffering economic hardship and his business empire, Maxwell Communication Corporation, was teetering on collapse.
Much of the explosive claims made in the new book come from the Iranian-born, self-proclaimed former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe, who says he served as the handler for Robert Maxwell and introduced Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein, and Mossad.
However, Israel denied Menashe's intelligence links, soon after he was arrested in 1989 in the U.S. on charges of arms dealing. However, he was acquitted the following year.
"Mr. Epstein was the simple idiot who was going around providing girls to all kinds of politicians in the United States. See, f*cking around is not a crime. It could be embarrassing, but it's not a crime. But [having sex] with a fourteen-year-old girl is a crime," a passage attributed to Ben-Menashe reads in the book. "And he was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls — if you want to get it straight. They would just blackmail people; they would just blackmail people like that."
Nonetheless, the unanswered questions as they pertain to Epstein still abound.
According to Dylan, Epstein used the classic honey trap—or "love trap," as it is sometimes known—to build his blackmail files.
"Even for those who did not fall for his ruse, their simple presence in his orbit was enough for Epstein to gather intelligence," he said. "Epstein was calculated. He rubbed shoulders with those who could unwittingly provide him information and intelligence."
And while the criminal case against Epstein was subsequently dropped as a result of his death, civil suits put forward by alleged victims of his purported "sex ring," and squabbles over his estate and finances continue.
Just last week, a leading law enforcement official in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned his own islands, demanded to know why Epstein's estate has not yet explained "irregularities" in a "series of unexplained transactions involving some $39 million dollars before and after his death," according to the New York Times.
In a court filing last week, Denise George – the attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands – stated that she was against removing a criminal-activity lien she placed on his $600-million estate given the sex-trafficking indictment filed by the DOJ before he died.
She pointed to the unrecognized $39 million worth of transactions pertaining to Southern Country International, an international banking entity Epstein set up in 2014 to handle funds "only from non-domestic customers." Geroge thus stated that some of the transactions seemingly breach the bank's charter.
Fox News could not independently verify the spy claims set out in the book.
But it may all just be the tip of the iceberg. Howard noted that others have more recently reached out with firsthand avowals of Epstein's intel ties.
"I do not believe the Epstein worked exclusively for the Mossad. I believe many countries sought information from him, and he also shopped information to the highest bidder. It also helps explain how Epstein was able to build a puzzling billion-dollar fortune," Howard added. "So, not only was Epstein running a shocking 'criminal enterprise' – as described by the FBI—but it was one with deep business and intelligence ties across a number of countries."