“I recognize that it was a grave error of judgment on my part to engage in a personal financial relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, and I regret it whole heartedly,” Terje Rød-Larsen writes in a letter to “friends and partners” of the think tank International Peace Institute (IPI), sent on October 21.

Seven days earlier, The Norwegian Business Daily (DN) wrote that Rød-Larsen in 2013 owed Epstein $130,000, and that he later authorized a payment to the financier and offender through the think tank.

In 2008, Epstein was convicted of solicitation of a minor. Last year, he was arrested by US authorities and charged with abuse and human trafficking, before taking his life in custody.

Rejects any connection to IPI

For almost a year, DN has been trying to get answers from Rød-Larsen and IPI about the think tank’s links to Epstein. There have been few answers.

IPI has denied that the promissory note has anything to do with the think tank, and that it ever paid Epstein. This is repeated in Rød-Larsen’s letter.

“This loan had no connection to the activities or finances of IPI, and it was repaid in full as promised within the allotted time from my own personal accounts. IPI never paid any money or compensation of any kind to Jeffrey Epstein. This was a completely separate and personal matter.”

Read the letter in full (pdf)

The letter does not say why Rød-Larsen authorized a payment of $100,000 to Epstein in 2015, as DN has documented. The following year, he wrote “we should send it to Jeff” in an email about IPI’s funds.

Rød-Larsen writes in the letter that IPI’s board takes the matter very seriously, and that it will be discussed at a board meeting in the coming weeks. In order to prevent what he describes as a risk to its reputation in the future, the rules for conflicts of interest will be strengthened.

More donations and links

The letter also refers to DN’s reporting on Epstein’s donations to IPI. Rød-Larsen points out, among other things, that the think tank last year announced that a similar sum as the one received from the Epstein foundation Gratitude America would be given to victims of abuse and human trafficking. The sum is about $525,000.

The letter fails to mention that IPI has also received more than $14,000 from Epstein foundation Enhanced Education.

DN has documented a number of connections to Epstein which the letter does not address, which the think tank and Rød-Larsen have never answered questions about:

  • When Rød-Larsen authorized a payment of $100,000 to Epstein. The money was linked to a peace project in Mongolia.
  • Epstein was a central figure behind the scenes, and in dialogue with both parties when the Gates Foundation decided to support IPI.

DN has asked a number of follow-up questions to Rød-Larsen about the letter on Friday, but has so far received no answer.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of several supporters who have received the letter.

“We will take note of the letter and believe, as I said earlier, that this is a matter for IPI’s board,” says communications manager Trude Måseide.(Vilkår)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS og/eller våre leverandører. Vi vil gjerne at du deler våre saker ved bruk av lenke, som leder direkte til våre sider. Kopiering eller annen form for bruk av hele eller deler av innholdet, kan kun skje etter skriftlig tillatelse eller som tillatt ved lov. For ytterligere vilkår se her.