Microsoft founder Bill Gates had an ‘inappropriate’ sexual relationship with a female staff member in 2000, and resigned while an investigation into the relationship was being investigated by the company board.

The affair came to light after the Microsoft employee wrote to the board in 2019 detailing the affair – and allegedly asked that Gates’ estranged wife Melinda Gates, 56, read the letter.

Gates, 65, quit the board suddenly in March 2020 while the investigation was still underway.

The Microsoft board decided that Gates should step down after the relationship was deemed to be ‘inappropriate’, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Gates left the board of Berkshire Hathaway on the same day.

The same day Gates quit Microsoft he also announced he was stepping down from his position with the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet.

In a press release the tech mogul said he would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella.

A Microsoft spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000.

‘A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.’

A spokeswoman for Gates said his decision to leave the board had nothing to do with the affair.

‘There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.’

The spokeswoman told the Journal his ‘decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.’

The revelations of Gates’ extra-marital affair, the first time he has admitted cheating on his estranged wife, came within hours of two separate bombshell reports on the unraveling of their marriage.

The New York Times revealed on Sunday how Gates asked two women who worked at Microsoft and his philanthropic foundation out on dates while still married to Melinda.

Melinda, who now goes by Melinda French Gates, was also upset at the way allegations of sexual harassments against Michael Larson, one of Gates’ key lieutenants and the manager of his personal fortune, were handled.

Meanwhile, The Daily Beast revealed Gates sought marriage advice from convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein during dozens of meetings at his $77 million Manhattan townhouse between 2011 and 2014, far more than had previously been reported.

Gates told Epstein his marriage to Melinda was ‘toxic’, which both men found funny, according to the report.

Gates suggested Epstein become involved with the couple’s philanthropic organization and ‘rehabilitate his image’ after his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution, according to a person who attended the meetings.

Gates’ visits to Epstein’s ‘lair’ was an escape from the marriage, according to the source, who said the pair ‘were very close’.

Bill and Melinda Gates, one of the world’s richest couples with a fortune of $130billion, announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings.

The Times reported that Gates asked out a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation.

‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,’ Gates emailed the employee, according to the Times.

The woman took his advice and Gates’ advance didn’t materialize into anything physical.

A couple of years later, Gates asked out an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pair were in New York for a work trip, when he told her: ‘I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?’

The woman told the Times the approach made her feel uncomfortable, but she laughed it off.

The report said there was no expectation that the women would suffer professional repercussions for spurning Gates’ advances.

It’s not clear whether Melinda Gates, who met Bill at Microsoft in the late 1980s, was aware of her husband’s advances.

Melinda also stepped in after Michael Larsen, the man who has overseen the enormous expansion of Gates’ personal fortune through an investment vehicle Cascade Investment, was accused of sexual harassment.

In 2017, a person wrote to Bill and Melinda to complain that Larson was harassing a female staff member at a bicycle shop part-owned by a venture capital firm Rally Capital, owned by the former married couple.

The woman reached a settlement in 2018, signing a non-disclosure agreement and receiving a payout.

However, Melinda was not happy with the outcome and ordered an independent investigation.

According to the New York Times, Larson was placed on leave during the investigation but was reinstated and still leads Cascade Investments.

The tipping point though appears to have been revelations about Gates’ close ties to Jeffrey Epstein, which caught Melinda by surprise when they were first reported in October 2019.

Their friendship began in 2011, three years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.

The Daily Beast reported on Sunday that the pair had met ‘dozens of times’ at Epstein’s palatial $77m townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side between 2011 and 2014 – far more than had previously been known. -Daily Mai


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