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NEW YORK: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in the United States on Thursday and charged with sex trafficking minors for her former boyfriend, the disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Maxwell, whose whereabouts had been unknown following Epstein's suicide while awaiting trial last summer, faces six counts relating to his sex crimes. FBI agents detained the daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell "without incident" in Bradford, New Hampshire at 8:30 am (1330 GMT), Kristen Setera, spokeswoman for the agency's Boston office, told AFP.

She is due to appear in court in New Hampshire later in the day. A spokesman for the Southern District of New York, which is investigating whether Epstein had any accomplices, said she had been charged "for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein."

Charges filed in New York include conspiracy to entice minors to travel in order to engage in illegal sex acts, transportation of minors for criminal sexual activity and perjury.

Prosecutors allege that Maxwell helped Epstein groom girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997.

It says she would befriend them by taking them shopping or to the movies. After building a rapport, she would coax them into giving Epstein nude massages during which they were sexually abused.