Bill Gates told The Sunday Times that he made a "huge mistake" in meeting with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein.
The Microsoft founder's ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, in March criticized her ex-husband for having met multiple times with Epstein, the financier accused of child sex crimes who committed suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial.
Bill Gates told The Sunday Times that "at the time, I didn't realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility."
"You're almost saying, I forgive that type of behavior, or something," Gates added to The Times, the Independent reported. "So clearly the way it's seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that."
Gates had told CNN last August that he regretted meeting with Epstein.
"It was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of being there," said Gates, who added to CNN that he only met with Epstein in the hopes of raising more money to deal with global health issues.
"I had several dinners with him, you know, hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn't a real thing, that relationship ended."
Bill and Melinda Gates divorced in August, ending their 27-year marriage.
During an interview in March with CBS Mornings, French Gates said she did not like her ex-husband's meetings with Epstein.
"It was many things. But I did not like that he'd had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein," she told CBS. "I made that clear to him."
French Gates also mentioned the only time she met Epstein and said she "regretted it from the second I stepped in the door."
"He was abhorrent," she told CBS. "He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. So my heart breaks for these young women."
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