A self-described "matchmaker" to Russian oligarchs is running away from his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Peter Listerman has been linked for years to Epstein, who was arrested on sex trafficking charges earlier this month, and the Russian businessman was defensive about his ties to the disgraced financier, reported The Daily Beast.
One of the website's reporters caught up with Listerman at the 10th annual Odesa International Film Festival shortly after Epstein's arrest, and found him surrounded by young women after posting racy videos of himself at the event talking about sex.
“I invented myths and fairy tales to entertain people,” Listerman told The Daily Beast, but ignored questions about allegedly trafficking teen models and then blocked the reporter on social media.
The New York Post’s gossipy Page Six website had reported in 2016 that Epstein imported his "playmates" from Russia, instead of sending assistants to look for teenage girls at local high schools.
That article suggested Listerman had been seen visiting Epstein's apartment, and pointed to a TV interview where he insisted he was "not a pimp, just (a) matchmaker" between oligarchs and Russian models.
“My Hollywood clients and oligarchs are sick of emancipated Muscovites, European and American women, who resemble robots," Listerman told the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda in 2009. "Everybody is sick of these evil women, they want gentle and romantic!”
The Daily Beast spoke to several models and beauty pageant contestants who Listerman hounded to join his VIP escort agencies, where he supplied attractive young women to men visiting casinos, yachts and resorts around the world.
“I have heard him approach women at our agency with his usual, ‘Hey, beautiful, I have a client for you!’” said Tatiana Savchenko, founder of Odessa’s first modeling school. “It took a lot of work to keep him from tricking our teen models in his traps.”
Savchenko met future President Donald Trump, another Epstein associate, at a Mar-A-Lago wedding between Trump's friend Phil Ruffin, a hotel and casino operator, and former Miss Ukraine 2001, Oleksandra Nikolayenko.
“Donald grabbed me by my waist and whispered compliments that made me blush," Savchenko recalled.
Listerman's reputation and standing have sunk over the years, and nowadays he's shunned from Russian and Ukrainian beauty pageants and called "scandalous" by the tabloids.
“To speak to me about Listerman’s hunt for girls is the same as to speak about porn films to an expert in art-house film festivals,” said Aleksey Diveyev-Tserkovny, managing organizer of Miss Ukraine Universe. “Listerman has been chasing me, trying to make friends for a long time, since the beauty contest we organize is No. 1 in Ukraine.”