SÜDWESTRUNDFUNK Wer ist Ghislaine Maxwell? Ghislaine Maxwell und Jeffrey Epstein, das vermeintliche Traumpaar der Reichen und Schönen. © SWR/dpa, honorarfrei - Verwendung gemäß der AGB im engen inhaltlichen, redaktionellen Zusammenhang mit genannter SWR-Sendung und bei Nennung "Bild: SWR/dpa" (S3). SWR Presse/Bildkommunikation, Baden-Baden, Tel: 07221/929-26868, foto@swr.de / Weiterer Text über ots und www.presseportal.de/nr/75892 / Die Verwendung dieses Bildes ist für redaktionelle Zwecke unter Beachtung ggf. genannter Nutzungsbedingungen honorarfrei. Veröffentlichung bitte mit Bildrechte-Hinweis. Foto: SWR - Das Erste/SWR/dpa/obs

Things get pretty gross in this true story of the “rich and famous”: Because her wealthy investment banker boyfriend reportedly needs his orgasm three times a day, his companion, daughter of a deceased media mogul, churns out underage girls . She’s attractive, has charm, knows how to build trust – and what’s going to happen when you’re invited by a woman who’s also known in the celebrity world and with US Presidents? One of the victims later says as an adult in front of the camera that she felt so connected to this woman after the first conversation. “She prepared me to voluntarily enter this predator’s home.”

The “predator” is investment banker Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life while in custody in August 2019. His accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in December 2020, among other things, of human trafficking. At the end of June, the New York court sentenced the 60-year-old to 20 years in prison. And because the case is bizarre and sensational, the three-part documentary “Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?” comes out just a few weeks later. You don’t necessarily expect such a “true crime series” to appear on ARD first, but SWR grabbed the license rights and is now proudly presenting the “documentary series that has been eagerly awaited worldwide”, as the broadcaster puts it somewhat exaggeratedly. After the broadcast, the three-part series produced for the British private broadcaster Channel 4 and the US pay-TV broadcaster Starz is also available for 90 days in the ARD media library.

Even before her fateful connection with Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell was a woman trying to oblige a successful, powerful man – her father, the publisher Robert Maxwell. Ghislaine, the youngest of nine children, was his favorite daughter, intelligent, not particularly hardworking but ambitious and the focal point of all Oxford parties in the 1980s yuppie era. Author Gornall interviews former classmates, work colleagues and also Mike Malone, Robert Maxwell’s personal photographer, who published the Daily Mirror, a high-circulation newspaper in Great Britain.

Back then, Ghislaine did what she apparently does best: matchmaking. To put it more elegantly: arrange contacts, bring the gruff father together with the most important people in the British upper class. In November 1991, Robert Maxwell, who had overdone himself with the expansion into the USA (“Daily News”, “The European”) and falsified balance sheets, disappeared off the Canary Islands in the Mediterranean – while sailing on his yacht “Lady Ghislaine”. Whether he threw himself into the floods voluntarily is unknown. Incidentally, Ghislaine Maxwell later founded a foundation to save the oceans. And as one of the few quotes, the author chose a quote in which Ghislaine Maxwell explains her passion for water and the sea. It is safe to say that her biography is also extremely interesting from a psychological point of view.

What is particularly disturbing is that Epstein and Maxwell have not been shorn for years. Some of them must have closed their eyes and ears tightly. The couple who ran Epstein’s luxury estate on the island of Little St. James in the Caribbean still seem disturbingly loyal today. On the other hand, some, like the writer Christina Oxenberg, express feelings of guilt. A former classmate of Ghislaine Maxwell says: “Doesn’t anyone want to know the truth? Probably not if the party is good.”