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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

JPMorgan Settles With Epstein’s Victims, Agrees to Pay $290 Million

After weeks of painful admissions about the bank’s extended association with the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the bank and the victims’ attorneys stated in a joint statement on Monday that they had struck a preliminary settlement with the victims of his sexual abuse.

One of the plaintiffs’ principal solicitors, David Boies, said the bank was willing to settle the case for $290 million. The settlement sum was not originally mentioned in the parties’ joint statement because it was going to be revealed in a court filing within the following week.

According to a complaint filed against Mr. Epstein in Manhattan federal court last November, a group of women he mistreated as teenagers and young adults have suggested a settlement agreement. It’s possible that over a hundred people will be killed.

After Mr. Epstein registered as a sex offender and pled guilty in a 2008 Florida case to soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl, the victims filed a lawsuit alleging that JPMorgan disregarded numerous warnings that he had been trafficking girls and young women for sex. The lawsuit said that the bank had ignored Mr. Epstein’s suspicious behaviour because he was a high-value customer with ties to several other high-net-worth individuals.

The New York Times studied court papers and deposition evidence, which indicated that several suspicious-activity reports had been submitted by bank staff concerning Mr. Epstein’s recurrent significant cash withdrawals. Despite media stories describing claims of his sexual abuse of adolescent girls and proof that some of the cash withdrawals were for payments to dozens of young ladies, the bank continued to conduct business with Mr. Epstein even after labelling him a “high risk client” in 2006.

From around 1998 through 2013, JPMorgan supplied financial services for Mr. Epstein, a financier with mansions in Manhattan, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, New Mexico, and Paris. During this time, federal officials and victims say, Epstein engaged in some of his worst behaviour.

Last month, the same attorneys representing Mr. Epstein’s victims reached a provisional deal with Deutsche Bank, which had taken over as Mr. Epstein’s principal banker from JPMorgan. The settlement was for $75 million. In 2020, Deutsche paid a $150 million punishment to New York authorities on charges that it failed to adequately regulate its financial dealings with the discredited financier, among other compliance lapses, before terminating its relationship with Mr. Epstein in late 2018.

Both banks’ settlements are contingent on the approval of Federal District Court Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan. Relatedly, the government of the United States Virgin Islands has filed suit, and Judge Rakoff is presiding over that case as well.

The U.S. territory of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean claims that JPMorgan should compensate it for damages because it allowed Mr. Epstein to operate a sex trafficking business out of his private island home off St. Thomas. JPMorgan, on the other hand, has vigorously fought the complaint in court filings, claiming that local government officials in question had cosy relations with Mr. Epstein for almost two decades.

Two of Mr. Epstein’s companies were awarded tens of millions of dollars in tax benefits by the U.S. territory. Shortly after Mr Epstein’s connection with JPMorgan terminated, the Virgin Islands granted him the first-ever licence to operate a boutique bank in the territory.

More than a dozen depositions, including those of Mr. Dimon and the governor of the Virgin Islands, Albert Bryan Jr., had been taken in the litigation against JPMorgan that Judge Rakoff had placed on an expedited track. A former JPMorgan official with strong links to Mr. Epstein, James E. Staley, was being deposed by some of the plaintiffs’ attorneys when a settlement was reached between JPMorgan and Mr. Epstein’s victims.

The Virgin Islands submitted fresh court documents on Monday, and they contained emails from JPMorgan employees, some of whom argued as long back as 2008 that Mr. Epstein should not be kept as a client.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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