Epstein scandal threatens to derail Barak’s prospects as pictures emerge

Ehud Barak’s claims that he never met with Epstein in the company of women is being challenged.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

The Daily Mail published pictures on Tuesday of Ehud Barak entering disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s home in Manhattan in January 2016, the same day four beautiful women also visited, threatening to derail the former Israeli prime minister’s electoral prospects.

Barak is running in Israel’s coming elections at the head of the Israel Democratic Party, which he founded last month.

Already tied to Epstein for business dealings even after Epstein had signed a plea deal and registered as a sex offender in 2008, Barak defended himself earlier this week, saying that he never partied with Epstein, who was notorious for holding sex parties in his mansions and on a private Caribbean island which he owned.

Barak admitted he had visited Epstein at both places, but never to attend such parties.

“I never attended a party with him,” he told The Daily Beast. “I never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls.”

However, the pictures that The Daily Mail posted to its website on Tuesday put Barak’s claim in doubt as it shows that within hours on the same day that Barak entered Epstein’s mansion, four women also visited. They are Jennifer Kalin, Susan Hamlin, Russian-born model Svetlana Pozhidaeva and a fourth, unidentified young woman.

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“Barak, now 77, was wearing a camouflage-design neck gaiter which he pulled high over his face almost to his glasses when he went into the East 77th Street mansion. When he came out more than an hour later, he was wearing it on his head,” The Daily Mail reports.

Barak defended his ties to Epstein on Israeli television’s Meet the Press show over the weekend. “He’d served his sentence for soliciting prostitution — the indictment didn’t say she was a minor,” Barak said, denying that he knew underage girls were involved.

The former prime minister threatened to sue The Daily Mail over its insinuations.

The Israel Democratic Party issued a statement, “The reports and hints in the article are baseless… The Daily Mail has previously published several false articles such as this, about Barak and about others. Other journalists who looked into these matters found no evidence to support these lies.”

Barak’s ties to Epstein have become news after Epstein was charged on July 8 with sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in a case brought more than a decade after he secretly cut his deal with federal prosecutors to dispose of nearly identical allegations.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of New York said that the non-prosecution agreement that spared Epstein from a heavy prison sentence a decade ago is binding only on federal prosecutors in Florida, not on authorities in New York.

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The case has already claimed its first high-profile figure. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who negotiated Epstein’s 2008 plea deal, said he would resign on July 12 over pressure concerning the way he handled the sex crimes case when he was a U.S. attorney in Miami.

AP contributed to this report.