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PARIS (AP) – A modeling agent close to disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on Saturday in his French prison cell, where he was being held as part of an investigation into the rape of minors and the trafficking of minors. for the purpose of sexual exploitation, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Paris police are investigating the death of agent Jean-Luc Brunel, the prosecution said.

Brunel’s lawyer did not immediately comment. His lawyer had previously said Brunel had disputed the charges against him in the media, but was available to speak to legal authorities.

  • After: Ghislaine Maxwell guilty in Jeffrey Epstein abuse case

Brunel was detained at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in 2020 as part of a wide-ranging French investigation sparked by US sex trafficking charges against Epstein. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial.

A frequent companion of Epstein, Brunel was considered central to the French investigation into the alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by the American financier and his entourage. Epstein often traveled to France and had apartments in Paris.

Several women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French investigation opened in 2019.

Earlier this week Britain’s Prince Andrew agreed to settle a case in which he was accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl provided to him by Epstein. The deal, in which Andrew agreed to make a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity, avoids a trial.