POLITICO, October 2020
Retired French politician Jack Lang has broken his silence over a sizeable donation from disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, telling POLITICO it was meant to fund a movie. In 2018, a year before his arrest on sex trafficking charges and his suicide in prison, Epstein made a donation of more than $57,000 to a French nonprofit through his private charity. The president, the treasurer and the secretary of the nonprofit were all long-term staffers or friends of Lang, France’s culture minister in the early 1980s and then again from 1988 to 1993.
News of the donation — first reported last week by the Daily Beast — raised a host of questions for Lang, a prominent figure from the French Socialist Party closely associated with late President François Mitterrand’s high-powered promotion of the arts.
The former minister, now president of the French Arab World Institute, declined to answer all of those questions when reached by phone on Tuesday. But, in a brief conversation, he said the money was to finance a movie — without providing specifics.
Asked whether work had started on the film, he said: “It’s being finalized, I believe.” An investigation by POLITICO suggests that the nonprofit has so far barely existed beyond some basic paperwork.