JPMorgan Chase announced a tentative deal with sexual assault victims of Jeffrey Epstein, the dead tycoon, on Monday, following weeks of damaging admissions about the bank’s extensive ties with him.
One of the victims’ principal lawyers, David Boies, stated that the bank was willing to pay $290 million to settle the claim. The parties had initially agreed not to publish the settlement amount in their joint statement since it would be disclosed in a court file the following week.
The proposed settlement would resolve a complaint brought last November in Manhattan federal court by an anonymous lady on behalf of victims who were sexually assaulted by Mr. Epstein while they were adolescent girls and young women during a 15-year span, according to the suit. The number of casualties might potentially exceed 100.
The bank and the victims’ attorneys stated in a statement that they had reached “an agreement in principle to settle” the case on their behalf, adding that the “settlement is in the best interests of all parties, especially the survivors who were the victims of Epstein’s terrible abuse.”
The settlement agreement was reached about two weeks after Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO and one of Wall Street’s most well-known bankers, testified for a day that he had never heard of Mr. Epstein before his arrest on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019.
Mr. Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan prison cell a month after his arrest in August 2019.
The government of the United States Virgin Islands is still suing JPMorgan. After years of litigation against Mr. Epstein’s estate and Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction in 2021 in Manhattan federal court for assisting Mr. Epstein in sex trafficking, that suit remains the largest pending Epstein-related matter.
The victims’ complaint alleged that JPMorgan ignored numerous indications that Mr. Epstein had been trafficking adolescent girls and young women for sex, even after he registered as a sex offender and pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor girl in a 2008 Florida case. According to the lawsuit, the bank ignored warning signs in Mr. Epstein’s behavior because it regarded him as a wealthy customer with connections to dozens of even wealthier people.
The New York Times studied court papers and deposition testimony and discovered that bank staff had submitted multiple suspicious activity reports concerning Mr. Epstein’s recurrent big cash transactions. The lawsuit filings indicated that despite media stories describing claims of Mr. Epstein’s sexual abuse of underage girls and proof that some of the cash withdrawals were for payments to dozens of young women, the bank retained him as a customer after classifying him a “high risk client” in 2006.
JPMorgan had supplied financial services to Mr. Epstein from around 1998 to 2013, a period during which federal officials and victims have alleged the financier engaged in some of the worst behavior. The financier owned magnificent properties in Manhattan, Florida, the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico, and Paris.
The bank restated on Monday what it has already stated, namely that Mr. Epstein committed “heinous crimes” and that “any association with him was a mistake and we regret it.”
Last month, the same attorneys representing Mr. Epstein’s victims agreed a preliminary $75 million deal with Deutsche Bank, which replaced JPMorgan as Mr. Epstein’s principal banker. Deutsche, which stopped its association with Mr. Epstein in late 2018, agreed to pay a $150 million punishment to New York regulators in 2020 over charges that it failed to adequately regulate its financial dealings with the disgraced financier, among other compliance violations.
Judge Jed Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan must approve the deals with both institutions. Judge Rakoff is also presiding over the government of the United States Virgin Islands’ related complaint.
The Virgin Islands, a US territory in the Caribbean, claims JPMorgan should pay them compensation for allowing Mr. Epstein to establish up a sex trafficking business on his own island off the coast of St. Thomas. However, JPMorgan has vehemently resisted the lawsuit in court documents, claiming that government officials at the bank had a cozy relationship with Mr. Epstein for over two decades.