MIT’s head of the media lab has been forced to resign after reports emerged that he and other personnel at the institution had attempted to conceal information which indicated that they had over the years received financial contributions from Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender.
A report made public by The New Yorker confirmed that the MIT Media Lab and Ito had been accepting contributions from the disgraced financier. This is despite the lab, which hosts a Digital Currency Initiative amidst other innovation programs knowing fully well that disgraced financier had been placed in the donor’s list featuring disqualified donors.
According to the report, Ito attempted to make sure that the source of the funds remained a secret to everyone at the institution. The report went on to state that Ito had gone on record a week ago to admit that he had received more than half a million bucks from Epstein on behalf of the Media Lab.
He also stated that he had accepted a further one million dollars that were channeled towards his investment funds. The New Yorker went as far as to make public emails from Ito that went as far as to show the efforts that Ito had applied to try and conceal the donations. He did not want the donations being tracked by the public and the university.
After Epstein funded the research efforts of one of the researchers working at the Media Lab, Ito is said to have sent out an email directing the researcher to note the funds received as being from an anonymous donor.
What shocked many at the university and the public was that it is well known by some at the institution that Epstein had deep ties to the Media Lab. Those working at the lab even referred to him as Voldemort, the Harry Potter villain.
They were, therefore, careful to ensure that he did not get named by any of the personnel. It is also alleged that Epstein had gone out of his way to try and encourage other renowned figures such as Bill Gates to back the work being done by the lab.