French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, an associate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has been found dead in a Paris prison where he was being held as part of an inquiry into whether Epstein had also committed sex crimes against French victims or on French territory.
Authorities are investigating the cause of Brunel’s death, reports Sky News. His body was found in his cell at the Sante prison in Paris at about 1 a.m. Saturday, according to local officials.
Brunel and Epstein were frequent companions, and the late modeling agent was said to be central to the investigation in France after several women identified themselves as victims since the probe began in 2019.
Virginia Giuffre, a key accuser in the Epstein crimes, claimed Brunel had been recruiting girls for him by offering them modeling jobs in the United States.
The death comes just days after Britain’s Prince Andrew reached a monetary settlement with Giuffre, who had accused him in a lawsuit of sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old, more than 20 years ago, while Epstein was trafficking her.
The prince has been stripped of his patronages and military affiliations and denies any guilt, but in the settlement made a “substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.”
Andrew has also pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with [Jeffrey] Epstein” and to support the fight against sex trafficking by supporting its victims.
Brunel had denied any wrongdoing in his associations with Epstein, but had founded a modeling management company with the late financier.
The French agent went into hiding after Epstein’s death, which has been ruled a suicide, along with Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell. They were eventually traced to the Brazilian Riviera, and Brunel was arrested at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020.
Maxwell, meanwhile, will be sentenced in June after she was convicted of recruiting teenage girls for Epstein, with whom she had been in a romantic relationship before later becoming an employee.
Prosecutors said Maxwell, 60, had groomed and recruited girls for Epstein between the years of 1994 and 2004.