Jeffrey Epstein. REUTERS

Financier Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, US media report.

His body was discovered at 07:30 local time (11:30 GMT) on Saturday at a facility in New York.

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He was reportedly on suicide watch following an earlier incident in which he was found injured in his cell.

Epstein, 66, had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges and was being held without bail.

Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

He was arrested on 6 July after landing in New Jersey on his private jet. He avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Last month, shortly after he was denied bail, he was found semi-conscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

He was treated at a nearby hospital, reports say, before being returned to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

The facility is widely considered to be one of the most secure in the country.