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By Isabel Vincent. August 24, pm Updated August 26, am. Three months before FBI agents arrested Jeffrey Epstein at a private New Jersey airport for his alleged role in a global child trafficking ring, his old pal and business partner Jean Luc Brunel was busy scouring Brazil for girls who could make him even richer. Brunel, 72, an agent who in the s discovered some of the biggest names in modeling — Christy Turlington and Angie Everhardt — was on a month-long scouting jaunt, crisscrossing the South American nation for the next big thing.
Through big cities and dusty frontier towns, Brunel stopped at more than 20 agencies and interviewed hundreds of girls, a Brazilian model agent recalled to The Post. I knew nothing about what he had been accused of doing. Giuffre also claimed that she was forced to have sex with Brunel at luxury properties belonging to Epstein, who owned homes in Palm Beach, Manhattan, Paris, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands.
Activist group Innocence en Danger, which has been urging that more be done to probe potential abuses in France, has said it had received statements from 10 witnesses alleging sexual abuse involving Epstein and his cohorts.
Brunel — who has not been charged with a crime — has vigorously denied all allegations against him in the past, and model world insiders told The Post he continues to work as an agent and scout for MC2, which once counted Epstein as an investor.
His father was a successful realtor who amassed a sizable fortune. Friends and business associates described him as a brilliant model scout who had a sharp eye for talent, and built up his first venture, Karin Models — a Paris-based company he joined in the s — into one of the most prestigious talent agencies in the world. But people also described him as a mean-spirited, lecherous rogue who allegedly took advantage of vulnerable young women. The flamboyant Frenchman — said to be colorblind — would often show up at industry soirees with his models and celebrities, looking like he was high on cocaine and wearing turquoise-colored pants and a brightly colored pashmina shawl, eyewitnesses told The Post.