Elon Musk denies knowing Ghislaine Maxwell after photo of them together inspires conspiracy theories

ELON Musk has denied knowing Ghislaine Maxwell after a photo showed them standing side-by-side at a party.

It follows Maxwell's arrest at her New Hampshire home amid allegations that she played a central role in the sexual abuse of minors carried out by former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell and Epstein were known to be well connected and photos have frequently shown them at parties and private gatherings alongside some of the world's most prominent celebrities, politicians, and businessmen.

A photo that has circulated online shows Maxwell with Tesla billionaire Musk at an Oscars afterparty thrown by US magazine Vanity Fair in 2014.

Asked yesterday by an anonymous twitter user whether the two were friends, Musk replied: "Don’t know Ghislaine at all.

"She photobombed me once at a Vanity Fair party several years ago.

"Real question is why [Vanity Fair] invited her in the first place."

Epstein killed himself in August while awaiting trial on charges for the sex trafficking of minors, and Maxwell has long faced allegations that she aided and participated in his abuse, though denies any wrongdoing.

She faces six counts related to the enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, the transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury. 

Replying to Musk, one user wrote: "They love to use this against you on [conspiracy theorist] forums but… it sounds like Epstein was just trying to get his hands on you."

In response, Musk wrote: "Pretty much."

Reacting to the photo on discussion forum Reddit, one user wrote: "oof, i love ya elon but what the f**k."

Musk was previously forced to deny a report by the New York Times that Epstein had been an advisor to him during a fallout of an explosive tweet in which he had speculated about taking Tesla private.

Epstein had reportedly drawn up a list of candidates to replace Musk as the company's chairman and to join its board as directors.

He also told the paper that he was "radioactive" and "predicted that everyone at Tesla would deny talking to him or being his friend.”

At the time, a spokesperson for Musk and Tesla said: "It is incorrect to say that Epstein ever advised Elon on anything."

James B Stewart, who wrote the New York Times reported, also acknowledged that much of what Epstein had said was "vague or speculative".

"It seemed clear Mr. Epstein had embellished his role in the Tesla situation to enhance his own importance and gain attention," Stewart wrote.

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