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Regulation and Compliance > Litigation

JPMorgan Sued by Virgin Islands for Facilitating Epstein Abuse

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The U.S. Virgin Islands is suing JPMorgan Chase & Co. for “turning a blind eye” to former client Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking on his private island there.

USVI Attorney General Denise George said her suit filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court was part of an “ongoing effort” to hold accountable those who facilitated Epstein’s activities. Epstein brought many of his victims to his villa on Little St. James, the private island he owned.

“Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JPMorgan,” the USVI complaint states.

JPMorgan declined to comment.

According to the suit, JPMorgan concealed “wire and cash transactions that raised suspicion of a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude” of women and girls in the Virgin Islands.

George also claims JPMorgan’s willingness to do business with Epstein unfairly enriched it at the expense of other banks.

Class Actions

The suit is seeking unspecified damages for violating sex-trafficking, bank-secrecy and consumer laws.

George’s suit makes similar claims to proposed class actions filed last month by Epstein victims against JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank AG. A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment on that suit, while a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said the case “lacks merit.”

Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019, after being arrested and charged with sex-trafficking by Manhattan federal prosecutors. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted of similar charges last December.

During her trial, a JPMorgan banker testified that Epstein wired her $31 million, money prosecutors characterized as Maxwell’s payment for procuring young girls for the financier.

George said in her suit that her office conducted an investigation into Epstein’s activities and presented the findings to JPMorgan in September.

According to the complaint, the USVI probe found that the bank “pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid” and was indispensable to the operation of Epstein’s trafficking enterprise.

Earlier this year, Epstein’s estate reached a $105 million settlement with the Virgin Islands after the U.S. territory filed racketeering claims against it. Epstein spent decades cultivating ties to U.S. and British elites including several Wall Street figures.

Ties to Epstein led to career downfalls for former Barclays Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley, who formerly headed JPMorgan’s private bank, and Apollo Global Management co-founder Leon Black. Both have denied knowing about or participating in inappropriate conduct with Epstein.

The case is USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

(Image: Shutterstock) 

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