French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, who was accused of sex trafficking and founded a company with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has been found dead in his cell in an apparent suicide, officials say.
The incident happened at about 1 a.m. on Saturday when Brunel, 76, was found hanged inside his cell at La Santé Prison in Paris. He had previously been charged with multiple counts of rape of a minor above the age of 15.
An investigation has been launched into Brunel’s cause of death.
Allegations of sexual abuse against Brunel spanned decades and he moved to the U.S. in the early 2000s, after which he founded MC2 Model Management with the help of an investment from Epstein.
Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in court filings that teenage girls brought to the U.S. by Brunel on model visas were “farmed out” to Epstein and others for sex, according to The Guardian. Both Brunel and Epstein had denied the allegations.
Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking of minors in July 2019, was found hanged in his cell in New York a few weeks later. The coroner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide, though the incident has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories.
Interest in Epstein’s case was high due to his links to politicians, businessmen, and celebrities, including former U.S. Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Earlier this month, Prince Andrew settled a lawsuit filed by Giuffre.