- Jeffrey Epstein’s two private islands in the Caribbean have sold for $60 million.
- That’s less than half the $125 million asking price the islands had when they hit the market last March.
- Billionaire buyer Stephen Deckoff wants to develop a five-star luxury resort there.
Two private islands in the US Virgin Islands that belonged to Jeffrey Epstein just sold for less than half their initial asking price.
Stephen Deckoff, the billionaire founder of private equity firm Black Diamond Capital Management, bought the islands for $60 million, Forbes first reported Wednesday. He plans to “develop a state-of-the-art, five-star, world-class luxury 25-room resort” there, which is anticipated to open in 2025, according to a press release.
“I’ve been proud to call the U.S. Virgin Islands home for more than a decade and am tremendously pleased to be able to bring the area a world-class destination befitting its natural grace and beauty,” Deckoff said in the release. “There is simply no place in the world as special as the U.S. Virgin Islands and I am humbled by the opportunity to share its splendor with visitors in a manner that will provide economic benefits to the region while respecting its culture, history and natural beauty.”
Deckoff told Forbes he’d never met Epstein and never been to the islands before they went on the market. The islands, called Little St. James and Great St. James, together listed for $125 million in March 2022.
Epstein bought the 72-acre Little St. James for $7.95 million in 1998. It has a villa-style compound, a library, a cinema, a detached bathhouse, and cabanas.
Epstein later bought the 160-acre Great St. James for nearly $20 million in 2016.
The islands were a focal point in the sex-trafficking charges against the late financier and registered sex offender.
Prosecutors accused Epstein of bringing underage girls, some as young as 11 years old, to the islands, where they allege Epstein and his associates subjected the girls to sexual servitude, child abuse, and sexual assault. Epstein pled not guilty.
He died of an apparent suicide in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell, where he was being held while awaiting trial on the sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. The FBI reportedly raided Little St. James, where Epstein was believed to have his primary residence, in the days after his death.
Prosecutors later accused Epstein’s former girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, of facilitating and participating in Epstein’s alleged abuse of young girls. She was found guilty on five of six sex-trafficking charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison.