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The world media are fixated on the Jeffrey Epstein situation, as news broke earlier this week that the disgraced billionaire had supposedly committed suicide in his prison cell. Epstein had many friends in high places, the convicted paedophile has no escaped justice and many are left wondering what will happen to the many VIPs and celebrities that were leaked from his ‘little black book’.

Back in 2008 when Epstein was sentenced to serve a 13-month prison sentence for procuring teenage girls for prostitution, his former driver and bodyguard, former UFC Fighter Igor Zinoviev who was driving him around between various locations, meetings and appointments. Igor was a regular around Epstein, he was close to the billionaire and even trained Epstein in some light fighting techniques and was accompany him on trips around the world and even flew with him on the billionaires infamous Lolita Express.

Due to his close proximity to Epstein, when news broke last month of the disgraced convicts arrest, journalists eyes were quickly drawn to the Russian MMA fighter. Journalists were desperate to get an interview with the man who drove Epstein around day to day but Igor just wanted to stay out of the limelight and avoid any media attention where possible.

That was until he decided to speak with investigative journalist M.L. Nestel, Mr Zinoviev had been speaking to M.L. Nestel since 2015, the interview that took place was for an unpublished interview for The Daily Beast, where M.L. was working as a writer at the time. Nestel was able to make contact with Igor again after the recent media frenzy around Epstein and what they spoke about was nothing short of explosive.

Igor told Nestel that he managed to secure work with Epstein after a friend introduced him to the billionaire. When he met Epstein, he was already working a job that he loved and felt comfortable with, however, when the billionaire phoned him after their chance meeting and offered the former MMA fighter a job as a PA doing jobs such as driving him around, training him in general and personal fitness as well as some basic bodyguard duties, Igor thought that this was an opportunity he wouldn’t want to miss and agreed to work for Epstein.

Igor started working for Epstein when he was at Palm Beach, he split his time between Palm Beech, New York and the Virgin Islands. He was surprised because, while he was offered a driving job, the only driving he did was when they were in Palm Beach, everywhere else they went Epstein would already have other staff to drive him around. Igor would still travel with Epstein and when he wasn’t needed as a driver he’d be working out with him and doing some personal training, weight lifting and some basic boxing and self defence training.

When asked about driving Epstein around in Palm Beach and some of the specific places he’d take Epstein, Igor claimed that he only took him to business meetings, mostly it was downtown near office buildings. He claimed that he’d wait in the car and never accompanied Epstein in the buildings, he’d just sit and wait for his employer to return.

Nestel then asked Igor whether he had ever spoken to Epstein about his case at the time and the legal trouble he faced over alleged sexual offences with young girls. Igor then became a little elusive and claimed that he never spoke to Epstein about that, when Nestel pressed asking again if he ever spoke about any of the allegations made against him, Igor just replied No.

Jeffrey Epstein – Court Illustration

Nestel then confronted Igor about something Igor had said in the earlier, unpublished interview, he highlighted a quote from Igor, where Igor had told him that he had tried to advise, warn and stop Epstein many times in the past, but he never listened and that was the reason he stopped working for Epstein.

Igor then claimed that the quote at the time wasn’t in relation to teenage girls, Igor claimed that he never witnessed any teenage girls. He was adamant that during the time of working with Epstein, he never personally seen any improper behaviour towards teenage girls.

When pressed further about this and the journalist pointed out that his story has changed and asked him to clarify whether or not the girl were teenagers or older, Igor said:

All what I said was, he was always with girlfriends and there was a couple of girls — I don’t remember their names. She was 25 and worked for him as an assistant. Maybe 25 or 23 — whatever, I don’t know the age.

Nestel then confronted Igor stating that he is contradicting himself and that the last time they spoke, he definitely told him that Epstein had been with young, teenage girls. Igor, however, stuck to his guns and claimed that he has not seen and has never seen teenage girls with Epstein.

Nestel pointed out that the last time they spoke, Igor had said that he always tried to offer advice to Espstein around his sexual behaviour and conduct around girls. Asked if he remembered this, Igor stated that he did but then tried to talk about Epstein and his girlfriend and claimed the advice was centred around that.

When asked if he remembered claiming, in the previous interview, that Epstein would regularly make fun of him and degrade him in front of women, Igor said that he did remember this and said that was just ‘his thing’ and the way he was.

Wanting to press Igor further, Nestel asked him if he remembered claiming that Epstein would regularly play his ‘girlfriends’ off against one another and would regularly switch which girl was in his favour leaving one at home while flying another one with him on his travels. Igor claimed that he couldn’t remember making this claim.

Nestel was taken aback by Igor’s somewhat ‘selective’ memory, when pressed further Igor said “wait a minute”, Nestel told him “look Igor I know this is sensitive-” to which Igor replied “it’s not sensitive, it’s just incorrect”.

Nestel then confronted Igor and told him that he was only quoting Igor, telling him exactly what he had alleged during their previous discussion.

Deciding it was best to push this a little further, Nestel told Igor that during their last discussion, when Nestle told Igor that Epstein was being exposed in the papers for messing with teenage girls, Igor replied:

I’m not surprised at all, I’m only surprised that he can be left outside in the real world. Someday he is going to be sent to jail, then again he had so much money he can pay it off. All I can say is if he did something that like to my daughter, I wouldn’t be going to police.

When asked by Nestle, if he remembered saying this, Igor claimed that he remembers saying the part that if it was his daughter, he wouldn’t go to the police but doesn’t recall saying the previous part about not being surprised Epstein was being exposed for messing with young girls.

Getting a little frustrated, Nestel told Igor that he wasn’t making stuff up here and that he takes extra care and that all of this was recorded and written down from their last conversation. Nestel, fearing that Igor my be frightened of Epstein, tried to reassure Igor that he had nothing to be afraid of now, especially since Epstein was now dead.

Picture of Igor Zinoviev

Igor, getting more distressed responded:

I’m not afraid, I just don’t want anything to be incorrect. There’s too much shit here, you know, he’s dead now, just leave him alone.

Changing the subject briefly, the journalist asked Igor what he thought when he found out Epstein was dead, Igor asked if Nestel wanted his honest opinion, when Nestel said he did, Igor told Nestel that he believed someone ‘helped’ Epstein kill himself.

Questioned on why he felt this way, Igor told Nestel that, that line of questioning was going a little too deep.

Pressing further, Nestel asked Igor if he remember telling him that authorities would give Epstein a heads up the night before they would come and arrest him or search his home.

Agitated, Igor replied that some things discussed were meant to be between Nestel and him only.

Striking while the iron was hot, Nestel continued:

You told me he would get phone calls the night before and eight o’clock the police are going to come. He would get a heads up from local police. You said: “He always does something wrong. There was some nights in question where the police, the night before they were due to come to the house, would call him and tell him they were coming at at eight o’clock in the morning. It’s all corruption you know. It’s all bullshit.”

Getting ever more distressed, Igor told Nestel to stop as he could put himself in trouble with this line of questions.

Disgraced pedophile billionaire, the late Jeffrey Epstein

Nestel told Igor these were all things they had spoken about previously and that they were all very important points that needed talking about further. Igor wasn’t having any of it, he told Nestel to let it go and stop talking about it any further, he said:

Listen, you’re really smart and I’m not going to offer that over the phone right now, okay? You’re really smart. You have no idea. Please!

Asked what he meant by this, Igor begged for him to not talk about it any further, he said that he can’t discuss it over the phone.

Sensing that Igor was getting more distressed and wanting to release pressure a little, Nestel went back to the issue of Epstein’s suicide, and pressed on this a little.

Igor wasn’t having any of it and at this point was just desperate to get off the phone to Nestel making excuses that he had a client to see to.

Before the conversation ended, Nestel wanted to make sure they could stay in touch and clarify a few issues so asked Igor for his email address, Igor replied by saying he didn’t do any of that stuff, meaning email. When quizzed on why he didn’t want to exchange emails, Igor just said, “I can’t, I can’t”.

Asking one final question before he lost Igor for good, Nestel asked Igor whether he had been talking to anyone in the government or FBI and whether anyone from the authorities had made contact with him.

There was a long pause from Igor.

Great talking to you. Seriously.

To read the interview in full, word for word, read Nestel’s full interview published in this article on the Intelligencer.

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