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Guards meant to watch Epstein on night he killed himself suspended

Sky News logo Sky News 13/8/2019

The two guards assigned to watch Jeffrey Epstein on the night he killed himself in prison have been suspended.

a close up of Jeffrey Epstein: Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sex trafficking and faced decades in jail if found guilty © Reuters Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sex trafficking and faced decades in jail if found guilty

The warden at the federal prison where the 66-year-old took his own life on Saturday has also been reassigned.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein's suicide is under way - and the suspensions came shortly after federal agents raided the disgraced financier's island home in the US Virgin Islands.

Jeffrey Epstein holding a sign: Epstein took his own life at the weekend © Getty Epstein took his own life at the weekend

Agents from the FBI, as well as Customs and Border Protection, were seen at the dock and in the grounds of Little Saint James.

The 100-acre private Caribbean island was bought by Epstein for $7.95m in 1998, and it was part of the extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by Epstein before his legal troubles.

Despite rumours, not much is known for sure about what went on at the island, although details may soon be revealed by the agencies seen searching it on Monday.

water next to the ocean: Epstein bought the small Caribbean island in 1998 © Reuters Epstein bought the small Caribbean island in 1998

Epstein's estate also includes a 40-room mansion on New York's Upper East Side with an estimated value of $77m (£63m), a ranch in New Mexico and homes in Paris and Palm Beach, Florida.

a view of a house: Little Saint James is one of Epstein's many luxury properties © Reuters Little Saint James is one of Epstein's many luxury properties

FBI spokesman Guillermo Gonzalez said: "There are FBI agents conducting enforcement operations in the US Virgin Islands."

Epstein had a social circle that included princes and presidents, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

He admitted prostitution charges relating to an underage girl in 2008.

Epstein was arrested on 6 July over claims that he was involved in the sex trafficking of dozens of girls as young as 14 from 2002 until 2005.

He had denied the charges and was being held in prison until his trial.

Epstein would have faced up to 45 years in jail had he been convicted of the most recent offences.

Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein posing for the camera: Donald and Melania Trump with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell  in 2000 © Getty Donald and Melania Trump with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2000

A number of well-known names had been implicated in the case and prosecutors had said Epstein's behaviour was aided by co-conspirators who recruited his victims.

Attorney General William Barr has said investigations will continue into the actions of "anyone who was complicit with Epstein".

During a speech on Monday, he described the case as "very important to the Department of Justice and to me personally".

He added: "Most importantly, this case was important to the victims who had the courage to come forward and deserved the opportunity to confront the accused in the courtroom."

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Mr Barr also said that he had been "appalled... and frankly angry" to learn that Epstein had died due to what he described as the Metropolitan Correctional Center's "failure to adequately secure" him.

He continued: "We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are doing just that.

"We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability."

Epstein is thought to have attempted suicide last month but was no longer on suicide watch when he died during the weekend.

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