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PARIS – A French modeling agent and former associate of disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday in his French jail cell, a spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office said Saturday.

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Jean-Luc Brunel, 75, was discovered in his cell in La Santé prison in southern Paris, the BBC reported, citing French media outlets. His body was found by prison officials at about 1:30 a.m. local time, The Guardian reported.

According to The New York Times, Brunel was found hanging in his cell. The newspaper cited a French official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because an investigation had been opened. According to the prosecutor’s office, Paris police are investigating Brunel’s death, The Associated Press reported. The circumstances of Brunel’s death have not been made public, and Brunel’s lawyers did not comment on it.

Prosecutors would not comment on reports that Brunel killed himself, according to CNN.

The circumstances surrounding Brunel’s death appeared to be similar to Epstein’s, who hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial, the Times reported.

Brunel was being held in an investigation into the rape of minors and trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation, according to the AP. He had been in custody since a formal investigation was initiated in 2020, according to the BBC.

“His decision was not guided by guilt but by a deep sense of injustice,” Brunel’s lawyers said in a statement, adding that their client had “never stopped claiming his innocence.”

Brunel was arrested in December 2020 at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris before boarding a plane for Dakar in Senegal, The Guardian reported.

>> Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre reach settlement in sex abuse lawsuit

Brunel co-founded French modeling agency Karin Models in 1977, and MC2 Model Management in the U.S. with financial backing from Epstein, the BBC reported. He was a frequent companion of Epstein and was considered a key figure in French authorities’ investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by the U.S. financier and his circle. Epstein traveled often to France and had apartments in Paris, the AP reported.

Epstein’s autopsy found that the multimillionaire had multiple broken bones in his neck, according to The Washington Post.

One of the victims in the French investigation, Thysia Huisman, said the news of Brunel’s death sent her into “shock.”

“It makes me angry, because I’ve been fighting for years,” Huisman, a Dutch former model who claimed she was raped by Brunel as a teen, told the AP. “For me, the end of this was to be in court. And now that whole ending — which would help form closure — is taken away from me.”

One of Epstein’s main accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that Brunel procured women — including minors — for sex with Epstein and other people, the AP reported.

On Tuesday, Britain’s Prince Andrew agreed to settle a case in which Giuffre accused him of sexual abuse when she was 17. Guiffre claims she was supplied to Andrew by Epstein, charges that the prince denies. The settlement, in which Andrew agreed to make a substantial donation to Giuffre’s charity, avoids a trial.

Details of the settlement were not revealed.