A prominent French modelling agent who was a former close associate of disgraced American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his Paris prison cell, prosecutors said on Saturday.
Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July 2019 on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, was found hanged in his New York jail cell the following month while awaiting trial over abuses involving girls at his Palm Beach home and on his private island in the Caribbean.
His former associate Jean-Luc Brunel, in his mid 70s, had been charged with the rape of minors and held in prison since December 2020.
A souce close to the investigation told AFP that he had been found dead overnight Friday to Saturday. Paris prosecutors later confirmed he had died.
Police are now investigating the cause of the death, added the source, who asked not to be named. Brunel's death means that his case is now closed, unless other suspects are implicated in the same case in the future.
Brunel had denied the charges against him.
His ownership of an apartment in an upmarket Paris district and allegations from women who say they were abused in France prompted French prosecutors to open their own investigation.
That probe focused on Brunel, who was accused in American court documents of rape and of procuring young girls for his friend.