By the time Jeffrey Epstein died, the rich and powerful he’d courted for decades had finally abandoned him.

But his apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail cell -- a grisly end to a story of sexual abuse and financial intrigue -- leaves his former circle confronting a sober reality. Jeffrey Epstein is dead. The scandal isn’t.

The implications have only begun to reverberate as the investigations grind on. Now that the financier will never get his day in court, where he may have set to rest some of the fervent speculation, it’s open season for the gossips and conspiracy theorists.

“Mr. Epstein’s death gives license for sensationalizing the horrible,” said Erik Gordon, a lawyer and business professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “People who merely socialized or did business with him without knowing about the alleged conduct are stuck with having their name linked with his.”

Those who rubbed elbows with Epstein, as well as banks that handled his millions well after he’d first been accusing of preying on teenage girls, had already been struggling to contain the damage.

Les Wexner, the mogul behind Victoria’s Secret who had a decades long business association with Epstein, has twice issued statements distancing himself from his former consigliere, first to his employees at L Brands and then to his Wexner Foundation. Wexner, who last week said Epstein had “misappropriated vast sums of money,” has been providing authorities information about Epstein’s role, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Wexner spokesman declined to comment.

To his victims, Epstein was a monster, a predator who lured girls as young as 14 to his opulent homes and private island. To billionaires like Wexner and Leon Black, Epstein was, for years, a trusted financial adviser. To JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s private banking unit, once led by Jes Staley, Epstein was a valuable contact who brought in lucrative clients. To Glenn Dubin, he was an investor and a friend.

Epstein was also a client of Deutsche Bank AG, who cut ties with him this year. An internal review had concluded it appeared Epstein was using his accounts for sex trafficking and possibly other illegal activity, according to the New York Times. Troy Gravitt, a spokesman for the bank, said it was examining its relationship with Epstein and “absolutely committed to cooperating with all relevant authorities.”

There has been no suggestion on the part of federal authorities of any wrongdoing by the people with whom Epstein did business. All have said in recent weeks that they were unaware of what Wexner described in the letter to his foundation as “the unthinkable allegations” Epstein was facing.

Black has reiterated that his relationship with Epstein didn’t touch Apollo Global Management. Staley cut ties to Epstein in 2015, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, months before he became head of Barclays Plc. A spokesman for JPMorgan has declined to comment. The bank has been poring over their records in recent weeks to figure out more about its relationship with Epstein, a person familiar with the situation said.

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