by WorldTribune Staff, June 12, 2023
In what would be one of the largest ever payouts in a sex-trafficking case, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $290 million to settle a lawsuit over its ties to Jeffrey Epstein, said lawyers for Epstein accusers.
“The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, especially the survivors who were the victims of Epstein’s terrible abuse,” JPMorgan and lawyers for the women said in a press release.
Following a judge’s ruling on Monday granting class-action status to the lawsuit, the settlement is expected to compensate dozens of Epstein accusers.
Deutsche Bank, which handled Epstein’s accounts after JPMorgan, previously agreed to pay $75 million to resolve a similar suit brought by Epstein victims.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of women who accused Epstein of abuse, exposed details about the years-long relationship between JPMorgan and Epstein after his sex crime conviction.
An unnamed accuser in the lawsuit said that JPMorgan ignored red flags about Epstein until 2013 because he was bringing wealthy clients to the bank.
The lawsuit also forced Chief Executive Jamie Dimon to answer questions under oath, and led the bank to sue former top official Jes Staley.
Dimon said in his deposition last month that he had never discussed Epstein or his accounts.
JPMorgan said in the press release that it was a mistake to have any association with Epstein and that the bank regrets its association with him. “We would never have continued to do business with him if we believed he was using our bank in any way to help commit heinous crimes,” a bank spokeswoman said.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing Epstein accusers, said: “A settlement of this size finally acknowledges the magnitude of the suffering of Epstein’s victims, the degree to which our system is broken, and the extent of Epstein’s influence to corrupt our system.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands also sued JPMorgan late last year, saying the bank facilitated Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking and abuse by allowing the late financier to remain a client and helping him send money to his victims. That suit is pending.
“The U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to proceed with its enforcement action to ensure full accountability for JPMorgan’s violations of law,” said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general.
The Wall Street Journal noted: “Epstein became a client of JPMorgan around 1998, and over the years the bank came to manage dozens of Epstein-related accounts containing hundreds of millions of dollars. Epstein turned to Deutsche Bank after JPMorgan closed his accounts in 2013. Both banks worked with Epstein for years after he was publicly accused of abusing girls and pleaded guilty in a Florida state court in 2008 to soliciting prostitution from a minor.”
Epstein died in a federal jail in New York in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. Medical examiners ruled it a suicide.