PARIS (AP) — A modeling agent who was close to disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been taken into custody in France, suspected of an array of crimes, including the rape of minors and trafficking minors for sexual exploitation, Paris prosecutors said Thursday.
The prosecutors' office said Jean-Luc Brunel was detained for questioning on Wednesday. Police picked him up at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, the prosecutors' office said, without specifying whether he was arriving or departing.
Brunel was being investigated as part of a broad French probe into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by Epstein and his circle.
Multiple women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French probe was opened in August last year.
Brunel was considered central to the French investigation because he was a frequent companion of Epstein, who killed himself Aug. 10, 2019, in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Epstein traveled often to France and had apartments in Paris.
Brunel’s lawyer has previously said that he contests accusations against him in the media, but that he was available to talk to judicial officials.