Jeffrey Epstein-linked accounts transferred funds to Noam Chomsky, Bard College head

Left-wing academic confirms to Wall Street Journal that he sought disgraced financier’s assistance in moving funds but insists none of the money was from the deceased sex offender

US academic Noam Chomsky (photo credit: AP/Nader Daoud)
US academic Noam Chomsky (photo credit: AP/Nader Daoud)

Academic and left-wing activist Noam Chomsky received assistance in financial matters totaling $270,000 from deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Chomsky confirmed that he approached Epstein for assistance in disbursing common funds from the bank account of his first wife following her death. But the linguist insisted that none of the $270,000 transferred to him from the Epstein-linked account belonged to the disgraced financier.

“My late wife died 15 years ago after a long illness. We paid no attention to financial issues,” Chomsky wrote in an email to the newspaper. “We asked Epstein for advice. The simplest way seemed to be to transfer funds from one account in my name to another, by way of his office.”

The report also said that Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, confirmed having received $150,000 in direct payments from the financier, all of which were transferred to his institution.

Besides Chomsky and Botstein, a previous Wall Street Journal investigation mentioned filmmaker Woody Allen and former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak as major Jewish figures who had had meetings with Epstein. Such meetings do not necessarily indicate any wrongdoing.

Epstein’s death in prison in 2019 was ruled a suicide but took place under mysterious circumstances that have led some to question the suicide determination. At the time, he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges following a Miami Herald investigation that uncovered his network of sexual abuse and high-profile connections.

Jeffrey Epstein, on March 28, 2017. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

The scheduled meetings revealed in the Journal’s report all occurred years after Epstein’s initial arrest for sex crimes in 2008. Among the more notable appointments in the calendar: a 2015 meeting with Chomsky, a longtime critic of Israel and Barak, whose relationship with Epstein has received much scrutiny over the years.

Epstein had arranged the meeting for Chomsky and Barak to discuss “Israel’s policies with regard to Palestinian issues and the international arena,” Chomsky told the Journal.

Chomsky further said of Epstein, “I knew him and we met occasionally.” The two men had planned several meetings between 2015 and 2016, including a dinner between them, Woody Allen and Allen’s stepdaughter-turned-wife Soon-Yi Previn, and another meeting with a former Harvard University president.

Botstein, meanwhile, had scheduled dozens of meetings with Epstein to discuss the financier supporting various Bard programs. While Epstein did donate to Bard on occasion, Botstein described their relationship to The Wall Street Journal as “sadism on his part” because Epstein was frequently “dangling philanthropic support” he would not commit to.

Bard College President Leon Botstein speaks during the 153rd Commencement at Bard College on May 25, 2013, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. (AP Photo/Philip Kamrass)

Chomsky’s own connections to Epstein had not been previously reported. Botstein has told the press in the past about Epstein’s donations to Bard, but the extent of the two men’s personal relationship had not been previously disclosed.

Both Chomsky and Botstein defended their decision to continue meeting with Epstein after his first sex trafficking convictions, with Chomsky saying that Epstein’s prison time indicated a “clean slate” and Botstein invoking Bard’s history of supporting prison rehabilitation programs.

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