Leslie Wexner, the CEO of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, said Tuesday that he was “embarrassed” that he put his trust in disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
“Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved is something that I am embarrassed that I was even close to, but that is in the past,” Wexner said at L Brands’ (LB) investor conference.
“At some point in your life, we are all betrayed by friends, and if we haven’t, we’re really fortunate to have lived a perfectly sheltered life,” he said.
Epstein, a decades-long associate of Wexner’s, was accused of running a sex-trafficking enterprise, in which he paid girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his Upper East Side mansion and his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Epstein died by suicide last month at a Manhattan jail awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
“It did happen a long time ago and my distraction of that happened a long time ago,” Wexner said. “That was inexplicable, abhorrent behavior and clearly something we all would condemn.”
Wexner previously described Epstein as his former personal money manager, and a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, his charitable group based in New Albany, Ohio. He has said he cut ties with Epstein in 2007.
L Brands is currently conducting an internal investigation into the company’s ties to Epstein.
“While Mr. Epstein served as Mr. Wexner’s personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago, we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company,” an L Brands spokesperson previously said.
L Brands’ spokesperson said the company’s board of directors has “engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough review” at their direction.