Netflix’s recent major new documentary series has got everybody talking about the Jeffrey Epstein scandal once again.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich features first-hand accounts from a “sisterhood of survivors”, some of whom are speaking for the first time about financier and subsequently convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The show explores how billionaire Epstein used his wealth and power to carry out his abuse. It also looks at Epstein’s “Gatsby-like” existence and raises questions about how he died in jail in 2019.
One key figure missing from the docu-series is Ghislaine Maxwell, a close associate of Epstein’s who has faced persistent allegations of procuring and sexually trafficking underage girls for him, charges she denies.
So why is she absent?
Here's everything you need to know:
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ghislaine Maxwell is a British socialite, the youngest child of disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell.
In 1991, she moved to the United States following her father's death and became a close associate of Epstein.
Through her association with Epstein, Maxwell has faced persistent allegations of procuring and sexually trafficking underage girls for him and others, charges she denies.
In December 2019, Reuters reported that Maxwell was among those under FBI investigation for facilitating Epstein.
Why is Ghislaine Maxwell not interviewed in the new doc?
The question of Ghislaine Maxwell’s whereabouts has been a contentious one in recent years, as she seemingly avoids being served lawsuits, with a history of being unreachable during legal proceedings.
In 2016, the socialite was no longer being photographed at public functions, and a year later, her lawyers claimed that they did not know her permanent address before a judge – they believed it may have been in London.
During a 2017 lawsuit, a private investigation firm attempted to serve notice at three physical addresses, sent information to multiple email addresses, and even reached out to lawyers representing Maxwell in another lawsuit – they refused to relay the information to her.
Since Epstein's arrest, Maxwell has been communicating with the courts only through her lawyers who have refused to accept service of three lawsuits on her behalf.
In January 2020, it was reported that Maxwell had refused to allow her lawyers to be served with several lawsuits in which she had been directly named in 2019 and 2020.
Maxwell's lawyers continue to argue on her behalf, but claim to not know where she is or to have permission to accept lawsuits filed against her.
Where is Ghislaine Maxwell?
In August 2019, reports surfaced that Maxwell had been living in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, in the home of Scott Borgerson, the CEO of an investment company involved in maritime data analytics.
Locals said Maxwell had kept a low profile, went by "G" instead of her full name, and had been seen on several occasions walking a dog along the beach.
Others said Maxwell had been seen repeatedly running with Borgerson in the mornings.
Following the reports, Borgerson stated that Maxwell was not currently living at the home and that he did not know where she was.
The same month, the New York Post published photographs of Maxwell that appeared to show her eating at a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles. The photos were subsequently proven to have been fabricated by Leah Saffian, Maxwell's attorney.
Were her and Epstein a couple?
Maxwell and Epstein first met in the early 1990s at a New York party.
Maxwell was coming out of a difficult break-up, and the pair began a romantic relationship, which last for several years in the early 1990s.
Even after their relationship ended, Epstein and Maxwell remained closely associated, though the nature of their relationship remains unclear.
In 2009, several of Epstein's household employees testified that Epstein referred to Maxwell as his "main girlfriend"; and she was also referred to as the "Lady of the House" by Epstein's staff and as his "aggressive assistant".