A billionaire investor with ties to the U.S. Virgin Islands paid $60 million to buy Jeffrey Epstein’s island residences off the coast of St. Thomas — closing another chapter in the financial dealings of the disgraced financier who died by suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
The investor, Stephen Deckoff, paid roughly 50 percent less than the price Mr. Epstein’s estate listed for the two private islands last year. A portion of the sale proceeds will go toward a $105 million settlement that Mr. Epstein’s estate reached last year with the government of the U.S. territory in the Caribbean.
Mr. Deckoff is the founder of Black Diamond Capital Management, an investment firm with $9 billion under management and offices in Stamford, Conn., London, Mumbai and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He acquired the islands through an investment vehicle called SD Investments.
Mr. Deckoff, in a news release, said he planned to build a 25-room resort on the islands. The news of the sale was first reported by Forbes. A lawyer for Mr. Epstein’s estate confirmed the sale but declined to comment further.
One of the islands — Little St. James — was where Mr. Epstein lived for the better part of two decades and became tarnished by allegations that it had been a place where he sexually abused teenage girls. The other island — Great St. James — is less developed.
The release did not specify on which island Mr. Deckoff intended to build his resort.
At the time of Mr. Epstein’s death, his estate was valued at around $600 million. When the estate reached a civil settlement with the Virgin Islands government, its assets had fallen in worth to about $159 million. In the years since his death, the estate paid out more than $160 million to over 125 victims of his sexual abuse that had spanned decades. Many of Mr. Epstein’s victims were young girls.
Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl. Before and after he became a registered sex offender, the secretive financier managed to forge close associations with a long list of wealthy men, politicians and celebrities.
An affiliated entity of Black Diamond is listed as a beneficiary of a lucrative tax incentive that is intended to spur economic development in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The tax incentive has been granted to dozens of businesses with operations in the territory.
Two of Mr. Epstein’s companies were beneficiaries of similar tax incentives from the Virgin Islands government when they were in operation.