Who was Jean Luc Brunel? All about Jeffrey Epstein's friend, found dead in 'prison suicide'

Jeffrey Epstein's friend Jean Luc Brunel hanged himself inside his Le Sante Prison cell (Image via Lowkey Online/Twitter and Bertrand Guay/Getty Images)
Jeffrey Epstein's friend Jean Luc Brunel hanged himself inside his Le Sante Prison cell (Image via Lowkey Online/Twitter and Bertrand Guay/Getty Images)

Jean Luc Brunel, a former French model scout and Jeffrey Epstein's friend, was found dead at the Le Sante Prison on February 19, 2022. He reportedly died in an alleged prison suicide and was discovered hanging inside his cell.

The former Karin Models CEO was arrested in December 2020 over suspicions about his connection to Epstein and an alleged accusation of his involvement in the latter’s trafficking scandal.

Despite several denials, Brunel was detained at Le Sante Prison while awaiting trial for alleged abuse and harassment of a minor. However, he recently took his own life by hanging himself. Sources close to investigators told The Daily Mail that his body was found by a routine patrol in prison:

“A night patrol found his lifeless body at about 1 am. A judicial enquiry has been launched, and early evidence points to suicide.”

Insiders also mentioned that Brunel was possibly in a single occupancy cell and did not meet any fellow inmates prior to his demise. He did not suffer from any health concerns and was not placed on suicide watch:

“There is an investigation going on to confirm all this, but at the moment it looks like he killed himself alone, and it was a routine patrol that found his body hanging. There were no obvious fears for the prisoner's health, and he was not on a suicide watch, having already been in prison for many months.”

Meanwhile, Brunel’s attorneys alleged in a joint statement that the model scout committed suicide after being “crushed” by the allegations made against him:

“His distress was that of a 75-year-old man crushed by a media-judicial system which it should be time to question. Jean Luc Brunel has continued to proclaim his innocence. He multiplied his efforts to prove it. His decision [to end his life] was not driven by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.”

As per reports, the 3rd Judicial Police district has launched an official investigation into Jean Luc Brunel's sudden demise and an autopsy is set to take place to determine the exact cause of death.

A look back into the life of Jean Luc Brunel

Jean Luc Brunel was the CEO of Karin Models (Image via Morrette Thompson/Twitter)
Jean Luc Brunel was the CEO of Karin Models (Image via Morrette Thompson/Twitter)

Jean Luc Brunel was a French modeling agency manager and model scout. He was born in 1946 in Paris and began his career in the modeling industry in 1970s. Brunel started working with as a modeling scout for Karin Mossberg's agency Karin Models and became the head of the company in 1978.

Brunel and his brother Arnaud founded the Next Management Corporation in 1988 and formed the global modeling agency Next Management Company in 1989 along with Faith Kates. The former founded Karin Models of America in 1995 and exited Next Management Company the following year.

The model scout reportedly met former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in 1980s, who introduced him to her boyfriend, multi-billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein. Over the years, Brunel developed a close friendship with Epstein and became his “most frequent male associates.”

Epstein also helped Jean Luc Brunel launch his new modeling agency MC2 Model Management by funding the company in 2004. The latter moved to the states in early 2000s and transformed Karin Models U.S. into MC2 Model Management by opening offices in New York and Miami in 2005.

Brunel reportedly helped create The Identity Models in New York City and 1Mother Agency in Ukraine. However, he dissolved MC2 on September 27, 2019, a few days after Epstein’s death.

Why was Jean Luc Brunel arrested?

Jean Luc Brunel on a private jet with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (Image via Shutterstock)
Jean Luc Brunel on a private jet with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein (Image via Shutterstock)

Jean Luc Brunel became the subject of alleged abuse accusations throughout his career. In 1987, he became part of a seven-month long investigation for CBS’ 60 Minutes. Several models who worked with the scout were interviewed for the segment.

Many accused Brunel of allegedly fostering an abusive culture in the workplace, with model Courtney Soerensen making direct claims against the executive during an episode. The model said that Brunel made alleged inappropriate advances towards her in 1988 when she was just 19 years old.


Brunel denied all the claims made against him in 60 Minutes but the allegations continued to mount. The modeling agency boss was reportedly banned from working in Europe after he was featured in BBC’s 1999 MacIntyre Undercover report on abuse within the fashion industry.

Elite supermodel Karen Mulder made similar claims against Jean Luc Brunel in 2002 while speaking about misconduct and manipulation inside the fashion industry. However, he continued to avoid facing legal charges.

However, the former MC2 founder came under scrutiny after Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for abusing minors and operating a female trafficking ring. Epstein's victim and key witness, Virginia Giuffre, alleged in her 2015 affidavit that the financier allegedly bragged about having relations with “over 1,000 of Brunel’s girls.”

At the time, Brunel vehemently denied his involvement in the Epstein scandal:

"I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager."

In 2019, it was revealed that Brunel was among the names mentioned in Giuffre’s civil suit against Ghislaine Maxwell. The suit alleged that she was trafficked to several of Epstein and Maxwell’s high-profile clients as a minor, including Brunel.

Around the same time, a report published in The Guardian mentioned Dutch model Thysia Huisman accusing Brunel of assaulting her in 1991 when she was just 18 years old. Huisman also told The Daily Beast that she filed a complaint against Brunel, hoping more women will come forward with their stories.

Another anonymous American model accused Brunel of assault in the same report. She claimed that he attacked her when she was 20 years old outside of Paris in the mid-1980s.

Meanwhile, Jean Luc Brunel vanished from the public eye after Epstein committed suicide by hanging himself in prison in 2019. Shortly after, the French National Police launched an investigation into the model agency boss and searched his apartment on suspicions of alleged involvement in the Epstein trafficking scandal.


Although the 76-year-old went into hiding, he was arrested at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris when he was about to board a flight to Dakar, Senegal on December 16, 2020. He was kept in custody for investigation in relation to assault, trafficking and criminal conspiracy.

Jean Luc Brunel was officially indicted in September 2021 in connection to allegedly drugging and assaulting a minor model in 1990s. He continued to deny all allegations and claimed his innocence but was detained at Le Sante Prison during the ongoing investigation until his death by prison suicide on Saturday.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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