The “pedophile island” at the center of the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandals has been sold in a cut-price deal.
Little St James, a 75-acre private paradise in the US Virgin Islands, was where serial sex abuser Epstein shipped in underage girls to be raped and abused.
The island was described by the attorney general of the US Virgin Islands as “the perfect hideaway and haven for trafficking young women and underage girls for sexual servitude, child abuse and sexual assault”.
After a year on the market following the death of the disgraced billionaire in 2019, the island and its nearby Great St James have been bought for $60m (£48m) by billionaire Stephen Deckoff.
That is less than half the asking price, and part of the money will be used to settle lawsuits and compensate victims of Epstein and his guests resulting from the abuse that was carried out there.
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Deckoff, the founder of Black Diamond Capital Management, is reportedly hoping to convert Little St. James into a 25-room resort.
The two islands together consist of 230 acres with a helipad, pools and several villas.
Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, bought Little St James for $7.95m (£6m) more than two decades ago and in 2016 purchased Great St James for a reported $18m (£14m), although this was left largely untouched.
Deckoff, who is estimated to be worth $3bn (£2.4bn) hopes to open the hotel in 2025. He said in a statement: “I’ve been proud to call the US Virgin Islands home for more than a decade and am tremendously pleased to be able to bring the area a world-class destination befitting its natural grace and beauty.”
Deckoff said he had never met Epstein or been on the islands before the purchase.
Among those alleged to have visited Little St James during Epstein’s ownership was Prince Andrew, although he has fiercely denied the claim.
Among the many allegations made against Epstein was that by Sarah Ransome, a South African, who claimed she was raped up to three times a day for five months.