REUTERS/Ruben Sprich


  • Bill Gates and Russian bridge player Mila Antonova met around 2010 through a tournament
  • A Gates confidant introduced Antonova to Jeffrey Epstein to help her raise funds for her venture
  • Epstein emailed Gates in 2017 asking him to reimburse the cost of Antonova's coding course

Jeffrey Epstein knew about Bill Gates' alleged affair with a Russian woman and appeared to use that information to threaten the Microsoft co-founder, a report has claimed.

The convicted sex offender, who had paid for the woman to attend software coding school, emailed Gates about her in 2017, seemingly implying that he would expose the alleged affair if the tech billionaire did not maintain an association with Epstein, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources who have viewed the email.

Gates met the Russian woman, a bridge player named Mila Antonova, at a bridge tournament around 2010, according to the publication.

WSJ unearthed a YouTube video uploaded in 2010, in which Antonova talked about her meeting the tech billionaire and playing against him. "I didn't beat him, but I tried to kick him with my leg," she said in the clip.

Antonova declined to comment on Gates and said she didn't know Epstein was "a criminal or had any ulterior motive" when they met, according to WSJ.

Antonova was introduced to Epstein by Boris Nikolic, a Gates confidant and top science adviser at the time. She had planned to start an online business to teach people how to play bridge and was looking for help in funds for the venture, according to documents obtained by the media outlet.

Antonova and Nikolic met Epstein at his townhouse in November 2013, and she presented her proposal for an online business. The Russian woman hoped to raise $500,000 for the project she called BridgePlanet.

Antonova said she emailed Epstein thanking him for the meeting and reviewing the proposal, but the disgraced financier didn't invest in the project.

After failing to secure funding for her venture, Antonova decided to become a software programmer in 2014 and asked several people to lend her money.

"Epstein agreed to pay and he paid directly to the school. Nothing was exchanged. I don't know why he did that," Antonova said, according to WSJ.

"When I asked, he said something like, he was wealthy and wanted to help people when he could," she added.

Antonova also revealed that she briefly stayed at Epstein's New York City apartment but did not interact with him or anyone else during her short stay.

In 2017, Epstein contacted Gates about the Russian bridge player, years after the alleged relationship had ended, unnamed people familiar with the matter told WSJ.

The sex offender wrote an email to Gates asking to be reimbursed for the costs of Antonova's coding school, but the tone of Epstein's message was that he knew about the Microsoft co-founder's alleged affair and could expose it, WSJ's sources said.

A spokeswoman for Gates denied that the tech billionaire paid Epstein regarding Antonova's education, saying, "Mr. Gates had no financial dealings with Epstein."

The spokeswoman added that Gates met with Epstein "solely for philanthropic purposes."

Nikolic said he believes Epstein's email stemmed from the financier's failure to create a multibillion-dollar charitable fund with Gates as a big-name donor. JPMorgan Chase and Gates both declined to work together with Epstein.

"I have come to believe it was likely a retaliatory move against Bill Gates," Nikolic said.

Gates' confidant said, "I deeply regret that I ever met Epstein," adding that he "never saw anything like his illegal behavior."

Meanwhile, Antonova considered Epstein a "successful businessman [who] wanted to help."

"I am disgusted with Epstein and what he did," Antonova added.

After being convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution, Epstein was arrested again in 2019 on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.

On Aug. 10, 2019, Epstein died in jail, and the medical examiner ruled his death as a suicide by hanging.

Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photo taken for the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry