Jeffrey Epstein victims were paid from JPMorgan accounts, lawsuit alleges

Jeffrey Epstein, the late convicted sex offender, used accounts at JPMorgan Chase to pay at least 20 of his victims, according to new details in court documents filed on Wednesday.

Newly unredacted portions of a complaint brought by the government of the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home, alleged that the US bank “knowingly facilitated, sustained, and concealed the human trafficking network” he operated with transactions made via JPMorgan accounts.

The women “trafficked and abused during different intervals between at least 2003 and July 2019, when Epstein was arrested and jailed” received payments “between 2003 and 2013 in excess of $1 million collectively”, according to the partially unredacted complaint against JPMorgan.

Epstein pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution with a minor in 2008 in state court and was registered as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands soon after. He died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges that he trafficked underage girls.

Epstein’s estate reached a $105mn settlement with the Virgin Islands in December.

JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lawyers for the bank have previously characterised the complaint as “meritless” in court filings.

Among the recipients were women with “Eastern European surnames who were publicly and internally identified as Epstein recruiters and/or victims”, lawyers for the Virgin Islands claimed, including one woman identified in news reports and JPMorgan’s due diligence as having been solicited by Epstein when she was 14 years old, who was paid $600,000.

The Virgin Islands government also alleged that Epstein withdrew more than $775,000 in cash over that period from JPMorgan accounts, which it said was “especially significant as Epstein was known to pay for ‘massages,’ or sexual encounters, in cash”.

Employees at JPMorgan raised concerns about Epstein at various stages, the complaint alleged. It cited a 2010 email from a member of the bank’s risk management division that read: “See below new allegations of an investigation related to child trafficking — are you still comfortable with this client who is now a registered sex offender.” 

The complaint also detailed how Jes Staley, the JPMorgan banker who later became chief executive of Barclays, exchanged more than 1,200 emails with Epstein, as the Financial Times previously reported. It also contained redacted pictures of young women that the complaint alleged were sent by Epstein to Staley.

Staley, who worked at JPMorgan until 2013, pressed the bank to keep Epstein’s account despite the disgraced financier’s convictions, the FT previously reported.

A lawyer for Staley, who is not named as a defendant in the Virgin Islands lawsuit, declined to comment. In a previous response to the complaint, JPMorgan said: “The communications between Epstein and Staley make no mention of the use of either force, fraud, or coercion or the involvement of underage women and thus do not suggest sex trafficking.” Staley has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Staley’s controversial ties to Epstein ended up prompting his resignation as chief executive from Barclays in 2021 following a regulatory investigation into the way in which Staley had described their relationship.

Staley worked at JPMorgan for more than 30 years and developed ties with Epstein when he was an executive in the US bank’s asset and wealth management division, where Epstein was a client.

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