Everybody wants to be rich. Or at least have rich friends. But Microsoft founder Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, apparently really wanted to have rich friends. That’s how he explained his willingness to meet with Jeffrey Epstein in 2013, five years after Epstein was released from jail on pedophilia charges.

“I met him,” Gates told the Wall Street Journal. “I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.”

But, as Gizmodo noted, that’s sort of the point. The reason why Epstein was able to commit the crimes that he continuously committed (he died in jail last month in an alleged “suicide” weeks after being charged with sex trafficking minors) was because he surrounded himself with ultra-wealthy people to whom the law apparently does not apply. Rumors of Epstein’s romps with underage girls swirled for years. Gates – renowned for his supposed brilliance – didn’t seem to grasp this point.

“Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men,” Gates said. “I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about.”

A story in The New Yorker appears to call that account into question. Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Joichi Ito, who has since resigned, claimed that a $2 million donation in October was a “gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein,” and that “for gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey’s name as the impetus for this gift.”

Epstein’s inner circle reportedly dogged Gates for a meeting for quite some time.

“Bill Gates once wanted nothing to do with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier and sex offender who already had several powerful connections. That changed in 2013, when Epstein unleashed an aggressive lobbying campaign to meet with Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and one of the richest, most influential people in the world,” CNBC said.

Gates, was reportedly “inundated with outreach from people speaking on Epstein’s behalf,” and relented to a meeting.

Perhaps worse than taking the meeting, though, is the fact that he reportedly flew on one of Epstein’s private planes after the meeting to meet up with his family. Even if nothing happened on the flight, the optics are terrible. Epstein has one place, the “Lolita Express,” which was famous for reportedly hosting sex parties with underage women and high-profile business and political players, including former president Bill Clinton, while flying to Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A spokesperson for Bill Gates downplayed the pair’s relationship.

“Although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is simply not true. And any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false,” the spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.

Dead men may tell no tales, but the story of Jeffrey Epstein is far from over.