Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier accused of sex trafficking, donated $47 million to a charity established by Abigail Wexner, wife of Leslie H. Wexner, the New Albany billionaire with long ties to Epstein.

In December 2007, Mrs. Wexner formed the YLK Charitable Fund, according to Internal Revenue Service records obtained by The Dispatch. A month later, Epstein, who recently had been accused of having sex with children in Florida, donated $47 million to the fund through his company and his own foundation.

It would be the only money donated to the fund, according to records.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Wexner said on Monday that his relationship with Epstein ended more than a decade ago. The Wexners did not respond to several requests to discuss their relationship with Epstein or their decision to accept money from someone accused of abusing children. Mrs. Wexner is a well-known advocate for children’s causes and has helped raise millions for fighting domestic and sexual abuse.

Epstein’s social circle was filled with the rich and famous, including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of England and Mr. Wexner, founder of L Brands.

Epstein for years was a Wexner financial advisor and in 1998 was identified as president — along with Wexner — of the New Albany Co. in Ohio business records. Epstein owned land in the New Albany development, including a home on King George Drive that he owned from 1994 until selling it for $0 to the Wexners in December 2007, the same time he donated money to Abigail Wexner’s YLK foundation.

Epstein is a registered sex offender who was convicted of state prostitution charges in Florida in a plea deal in 2008 and served more than a year in a county jail after authorities said he paid numerous underage girls for sex.

On Monday, federal prosecutors brought new charges against him in New York, accusing Epstein, 66, of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005 by enticing them to engage in sex acts for money.

While Epstein was released from prison a decade ago on the original prostitution charges, the case resurfaced on Feb. 21 this year after a federal judge ruled that prosecutors led by Alexander R. Acosta, who is now the U.S. Secretary of Labor, violated federal law when they did not tell victims about an agreement not to prosecute Epstein on federal sex trafficking charges.

The timeline involving Epstein and the Wexner foundation overlaps a significant period in the investigation and prosecution of Epstein in the underage sex case.

In September 2007, federal prosecutors drafted a 53-page indictment against Epstein that could have sent him to prison for years.

However, after nine months of intense negotiations, in June 2008 Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He also paid a settlement — $5.5 million in total — to three of more than two dozen teens who sued him.

During those nine months between the initial indictment and final deal, Epstein had time to put his financial house in order.

In December 2007, the YLK Charitable Fund was formed, with Mrs. Wexner as president, according to public tax records. The letters YLK are the initials of Mrs. Wexner’s late father, Yehuda L. Koppel.

A month later, in January 2008, Epstein donated $47 million to it through his private foundation, COUQ, and his company, Financial Trust Co. The donation was made up of mostly of shares of Apple along with other investments, tax records show.

In February 2008, a month after Epstein donated the money, Mr. Wexner announced that Dennis Hersch would replace Epstein as his business manager. Previously, Epstein had been Mr. Wexner’s personal investment manager and a trustee of two Wexner foundations.

Wexner and Epstein also shared an interest in a Manhattan mansion bought in 1989 for $13.2 million — at the time a record price for a Manhattan townhome — by a corporation controlled by Wexner and Epstein, according to the New York Times. Nine years later, Wexner transferred his interest in the property to Epstein for $20 million, according to the Times. Epstein had lived in the mansion for several years, though Wexner never lived there.

“Les never spent more than two months there,” Epstein told the New York Times in 1996.

In the new indictment against Epstein, he is accused of abusing girls in that home.

Unlike many sex offenders who serve time in state federal prison, Epstein’s sentence in the Florida case was 13 months in a county jail. He was allowed work release to his office for as much as 12 hours a day, six days a week.

The work release appears to have been tied to Epstein’s charitable foundation, said Spencer Kuvin, an attorney who represented three of Epstein’s alleged victims.

“As part of his plea, he stated to the judges he was working for a charitable group, and that’s why he needed work release,” Kuvin said.

Epstein was released from jail in July 2009. In December 2010, records show, the YLK Charitable Fund was shut down and its remaining assets — about $33.3 million — were transferred to the Wexner Family Charitable Fund, a foundation the Wexners have used to support a variety of charities.

During the three years in which the YLK fund was in existence, it made two donations totaling $6.5 million to the Columbus Foundation, the tax records show. Also, the fund was set up during the recession, and some of the assets in the fund declined in value.

Mrs. Wexner has long been an advocate for children and families, especially those who have faced family violence or sexual abuse.

In the mid-1990s, she founded the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence, and in 2001 established the Center for Child and Family Advocacy. The two organizations later merged to become the Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Mrs. Wexner’s equestrian-centered New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day, which ran for two decades, raised millions for the cause.

In 2015, she helped launch an awareness campaign to encourage bystanders to take action when they see or suspect abuse.

Why the YLK was created and dissolved three year later is unclear, and Wexners have declined through a spokesperson to explain.

The $47 million would be just a fraction of Mr. Wexner’s net worth, estimated by Forbes magazine at $4.7 billion. Forbes said he is Ohio’s richest person.

In pressing a lawsuit against Epstein, lawyers for three women who say they were victims abuse by Epstein sought to determine the financier’s worth — and, therefore, how much to seek in a settlement.

But “in the litigation itself, we were never able to get him to produce verified financial information,” Kuvin said. He and his team “pursued every possible angle” to find out Epstein’s net worth but found that much of his wealth is offshore.

Kuvin said he was unaware of Epstein’s donation to the Wexner fund.

“Sadly, it would have made no difference in the case,” Kuvin said. “We always knew he was closely tied to the Wexners. We knew that from the get-go. Epstein was using the Victoria’s Secret connection to get a lot of the girls to come to the (New York) house. That was part of his lure for the teenage girls.

“For me, it didn’t really matter so much as for the funds,” Kuvin said. “We sought to freeze Epstein’s assets early on in the case, but until there’s a judgment, the judge can’t force someone to do something with their money.

“Once I entered into agreements with all my clients, and I had three of them, and he paid them, I didn’t care.”

Dispatch Reporter Rita Price and librarian Julie Fulton contributed to this report.

mawilliams@dispatch.com

@BizMarkWilliams