Ehud Barak
Ehud BarakTomer Neuberg/Flash90

Democratic Israel chief and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted that he met on numerous occasions with disgraced New York financier Jeffrey Epstein, including at Epstein’s now infamous private island, but says he never met any of the young women or girls trafficked by Epstein.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Ehud Barak discussed his ties with Epstein, which the Likud recently highlighted in a campaign ad, tweeted out on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Twitter account.

Barak told the Beast that he had first been introduced to Epstein by Shimon Peres in 2002, a year after he was voted out as Prime Minister.

The first meeting took place at a major event which featured “both Clintons and hundreds of others”, Barak claimed.

The former premier said he couldn’t recall how many meetings he had with the disgraced hedge funder, saying it was “more than 10 times and much less than a hundred times but I can’t tell you exactly how many. I don’t keep count. Over the years, I’ve seen him on occasion.”

In January 2016 – a decade after Epstein was first charged with sex crime – a piece by The Daily Mail featured photographs of Barak visiting one of Epstein’s Manhattan residences.

Barak also said that he had visited Epstein’s homes in Manhattan, as well as Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean used for his now notorious gatherings.

But the former Labor premier emphasize that he was never involved in any of the parties held at Epstein’s island, saying the visit to the island was a one-time event, “ for several hours—and years after the publications about sex parties or orgies there.”

“I've never been there at a party.”

But Barak’s ties to Epstein have led to media scrutiny of both his relationship with the disgraced former billionaire as well Barak’s financial dealings with Epstein.

In 2004, Barak received $2.3 million from the Wexner Foundation, which was established by Epstein’s benefactor and close friend, billionaire Leslie Wexner, owner of the L Brands corporation which includes the Victoria’s Secret brand.

Epstein was a trustee of the foundation when Barak received the money for unspecified consulting services.

Last week, Barak pushed back on the scrutiny of his ties to Epstein, saying he was being effectively smeared with no claims of wrongdoing being put forth.

"There's no claim against me for any offense," Barak said about his relationship with Epstein. "A serving prime minister who is neck-deep in criminal cases is trying to compare himself to me through a story about a third private person in another country who committed crimes. It's complete spin and it's important that the left doesn't fall into this trap - spin which serves the prime minister."

Epstein was first charged in 2006 with a massive, 53-page federal indictment on charges of sex trafficking and statutory rape.

As part of a plea bargain agreement, however, the original indictment was sealed, with Epstein pleading guilty to a single charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Epstein was registered as a level three sex offender and was incarcerated for 13 months.

Earlier this month, Epstein was arrested on new sex trafficking charges, stemming from allegations involving underage girls from 2002 to 2005 at both his Palm Beach, Florida and Manhattan residences.