Bill entrances was investigated for a past affair with an employee ~ the staffer brought it to light in 2019, leading to the founder stepping down from the Microsoft plank last year, according to a brand-new report. Gates, however, claims the examination was no the reason for his stepping down.

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The wall Street Journal reports the Gates, 65, was being investigated by an exterior law firm rental by Microsoft board members after among the company's engineers asserted she once had a years-long sexual partnership with gates dating ago to 2000.

The board ultimately made decision Gates should step down, the outlet said, and also Gates official stepped under from the Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway board in march 2020. In ~ the time, he stated the decision to be so he might "dedicate more time come philanthropic top priorities including global health and also development, education, and my enhancing engagement in tackling climate change."

In a statement acquired by PEOPLE, a rep for gateways said, "There was an affair almost two decades ago which finished amicably. Bill's decision to change off the board remained in no means related come this matter. In fact, he had actually expressed an interest in spending an ext time ~ above his philanthropy starting several year earlier."

"Microsoft got a issue in the latter half of 2019 that Bill gates sought to initiate an intimate partnership with a company employee in the year 2000," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "A committee the the board reviewed the concern, aided by an exterior law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Transparent the investigation, Microsoft listed extensive assistance to the employee who elevated the concern."

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Justin Sullivan/Getty photos Bill and Melinda Gates

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Melinda previously spoke about how ~ above graduating college and also landing her an initial job in ~ the then-start-up, she began dating Bill, that was the company's CEO at the time. "I met her at a brand-new York City sales meeting," Bill stated in a 2017 interview through CBS Sunday Morning. "And climate it was only a week or for this reason after that, that i went approximately her in the parking lot and asked if she wanted to walk out."

In the very same interview, Melinda spoke about their foundation. "It's certain a partnership of equals. It's vital to both of united state that the human being understands the we space running this place together. This is our joint worths being played out in the world," she claimed at the time.

And in 2018, Melinda an in similar way told PEOPLE: "We lead this organization together — the goals, the civilization we hire, the worths we collection — we enjoy doing the together.

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Bill is the very first person I desire to speak to once I get earlier from being the end in the field. We sharpen every other's thinking."