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French prosecutors open probe of possible crimes linked to Jeffrey Epstein

Key Points
  • French prosecutors said Friday that they are opening an investigation into possible crimes, including the rape of children and minors, related to the case of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The Paris Public Prosecutors' Office said it was launching a "preliminary investigation" based in part on "the exchanges with the competent American authorities in the so-called 'Epstein' case," according to a translation of that office's statement.
  • Epstein, a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was accused by federal prosecutors in New York of sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking conspiracy.
Jeffrey Epstein in 2004.
Rick Friedman | Corbis News | Getty Images

French prosecutors said Friday they are opening an investigation into possible crimes, including the rape of children and minors, related to the sex-trafficking case of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The Paris Public Prosecutors' Office said it was launching a "preliminary investigation" based in part on "the exchanges with the competent American authorities in the so-called 'Epstein' case," according to a translation of that office's statement.

The investigation "will aim to uncover possible offenses committed not only on the national territory, but also abroad to the detriment of French victims or in France against individuals of French nationality," the statement said.

Epstein, who was a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was accused by federal prosecutors in New York of sex trafficking of minors and sex trafficking conspiracy. He was arrested by FBI agents in early July as he stepped off his private plane at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, which had flown in from Paris.

Epstein reportedly owned an apartment in a high-end Paris neighborhood near the Arc de Triomphe.

He died by hanging himself in a jail cell earlier this month in an apparent suicide, according to his autopsy report.

Epstein had been ordered to remain in federal lockup pending his trial after the judge determined that he would pose a danger to the community if he was released on house arrest to his Upper East Side mansion.

The French prosecutors' investigation will look into a variety of crimes, such as rape, sexual assault of minors and conspiracy.

VIDEO0:5800:58
NBC archive footage shows Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein in 1992

— CNBC's Chanel Monteine contributed to this report.