JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is playing down his ties with Jeffrey Epstein — the U.S. financier jailed on sex-trafficking charges.
Barak’s connection with Epstein has emerged in Israel just days after the 78-year-old former premier announced his political comeback in a bid to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to U.S. tax records, Barak received some $2 million in grants last decade from the Wexner Foundation — a philanthropic organization that supports Jewish causes founded by U.S. billionaire Leslie Wexner.
The documents say the grants were for unspecified “research.” At the time of the grants, Epstein was a trustee of the foundation. Netanyahu has accused the media of remaining “silent” about the matter.
In a radio interview Thursday, Barak said he met Epstein several times, but said he “didn’t support me or pay me.”