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Teacher to tycoon: Epstein's jet-set life

Jeffrey Epstein's death is likely to trigger a raft of conspiracy theories as to who among his rich and famous former associates would wish to see him silenced.

At the height of his success, Epstein counted the likes of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen and Britain's Prince Andrew among his social circle.

Epstein would often ferry his powerful friends between his luxury residences on his private jet - a plane that would later be dubbed the "Lolita Express" by the press.

Born to working class parents and raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, Epstein had one of the biggest mansions in New York at the height of his influence in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Having dropped out of college without getting a degree, Epstein was hired to teach maths and physics at New York's exclusive Dalton School.

Ironically, the school's principal Donald Barr was the father of US Attorney General William Barr - the man who would have overseen Epstein's prosecution.

Epstein left the role after just two years after reportedly being scouted by chairman of investment bank Bear Stearns, Alan Greenberg.

After hitting the big time with his own firm J.Epstein & Co, the businessman was transported comfortably into the ranks of the global elite.

Epstein was reportedly introduced to Prince Andrew in the 1990s through his friendship with his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Ghislaine Maxwell has been alleged to have acted as Epstein's de facto madam who helped him procure under-age victims.

In 2000, Prince Andrew was spotted holidaying with Epstein at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, and in return Epstein was reportedly treated to stays in a number of royal residences.

Despite his extreme wealth and glamorous friends, Epstein kept a relatively low profile until the first allegations of sexual abuse and grooming emerged in 2005.

Even after Epstein pleaded guilty to child prostitution charges in 2008, Prince Andrew refused to break off their friendship and they were photographed together following his release from prison.

But in 2015, Prince Andrew was dragged deeper into the scandal when one of Epstein's victims said she had been forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions, when she was just 17

Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied the claims.

It emerged in 2015 that Andrew's former wife Sarah Ferguson accepted STG15,000 ($A26,600) from Epstein in 2010 to help pay off her debts.

Former US president Bill Clinton flew on Epstein's jet 26 times, according to the craft's log books.

In a 2002 article, Trump made light of Epstein's penchant for young girls.

"I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy," Trump told New York magazine.

"He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life."

© PAA 2019