Bill Gates left Microsoft board while probe was being conducted into affair with staffer

Bill Gates arrives for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Bill Gates stepped down from the Microsoft Board in March 2020, saying he wanted to focus on his “philanthropic priorities”. But new reports reveal that the Microsoft co-founder was being investigated for a 20-year-old office affair.

According to the The Wall Street Journal,the 65-year-old billionaire was being investigated by an outside law firm hired by Microsoft board members after one of the company’s engineers claimed she once had a years-long sexual relationship with Gates dating back to 2000.

“Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement PEOPLE reports.

“A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.”

However, according to the BBC, a spokeswoman for Gates denies the allegation.

“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably,” the spokeswoman said.

“Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”

After 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce earlier this month.