Ex-Israeli premier plays down relationship with Epstein

JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak is playing down his ties with Jeffrey Epstein — the U.S. financier jailed on sex-trafficking charges.

Barak's connection with Epstein has emerged in Israel just days after the 78-year-old former premier announced his political comeback in a bid to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Israeli media, Barak received over $2 million in grants last decade from the Wexner Foundation when Epstein sat on the group's board. Netanyahu accuses the media of remaining "silent" about the matter.

In a radio interview Thursday, Barak said he met Epstein several times, but said he "didn't support me or pay me." He said he has met many people over the years, including some involved in "problematic things," such as Harvey Weinstein.

"I also met Netanyahu," he quipped.