Following Jeffrey Epstein‘s death, JPMorgan Chase reported more than $1 billion in ‘suspicious’ transaction for the sex predator over 16 years, a lawyer for the US Virgin Islands has claimed in court.
Mimi Liu, a lawyer for the territory, said at a hearing on Thursday in Manhattan federal court that JPMorgan flagged the transactions as suspicious to the Treasury Department after Epstein’s 2019 death.
‘Epstein’s entire business with JPMorgan, and JPMorgan’s entire business with Epstein, was human trafficking,’ said Liu as she argued for a summary court judgement in favor of the plaintiffs.
The territory is suing JPMorgan for at least $190 million, saying the bank ignored red flags about convicted sex offender Epstein because he was a wealthy and lucrative client from 1998 to 2013.
In court, an attorney for the bank said JPMorgan had notified the Treasury Department about Epstein’s transactions several times before his death, including as early as 2002.
The bank’s disclosures about Epstein to the Treasury, known as suspicious activity reports, are not public and could not be reviewed by DailyMail.com. A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment.
Epstein had been a JPMorgan client from 1998 to 2013, when the bank fired him. The disgraced financier had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges when he died behind bars in a Manhattan jail, in what officials ruled a suicide.
JPMorgan, the largest US bank, has denied knowing that Epstein was running a sex trafficking operation while he was a client.
The bank has also fired back at the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two private islands, alleging top officials there gave him tax breaks and waived sex-offender monitoring requirements in exchange for cash and gifts.
The USVI attorney Liu mentioned the $1 billion amount, which had not been previously disclosed, in arguing the court should find before the case goes to trial that the bank participated in Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said no reasonable juror could find that JPMorgan was in the dark about its jet-setting client.
‘JPMorgan was a full service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking,’ Liu said.
Felicia Ellsworth, a lawyer for JPMorgan, said it was not appropriate for the judge to determine the question of the bank’s knowledge before trial, because current and former employees have testified that they were unaware of Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said JPMorgan notified the Treasury Department at least six times about Epstein’s transactions, including as early as 2002.
Ellsworth also disputed the U.S. Virgin Islands’ claim that JPMorgan obstructed investigations into Epstein, saying the bank had asked federal authorities about their own probes into his conduct.
That is ‘the polar opposite of trying to obstruct,’ she said.
US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan has not yet ruled on Thursday’s motions.
An October 23 trial is scheduled. Rakoff said he would decide by the end of September whether to resolve major legal disputes sooner.
In June, Rakoff preliminarily approved JPMorgan’s $290 million settlement with women who say Epstein abused them.
Deutsche Bank, where Epstein was a client from 2013 to 2018, had earlier reached a $75 million settlement with his accusers. Neither bank admitted wrongdoing as part of the settlements.
Epstein had owned two private islands within the US Virgin Islands, including Little St. James, where he infamously brought many young women and girls, and which locals commonly referred to as ‘orgy island’ or ‘pedo island’.
JPMorgan’s filings have shown that the former first lady of the territory, Cecile de Jongh, was on Epstein’s payroll and managed his affairs even as her husband served as territorial governor.
‘Rather than account for its own failures to investigate and monitor this criminal under its jurisdiction and to protect its citizens and sovereign interests, USVI blames a third-party bank that did not have USVI’s authority to enforce any law, nor USVI’s knowledge of Epstein’s crimes in USVI’s territory, and seeks to pursue such claims at the expense of dragging Epstein’s victims through yet more litigation,’ the bank said in a recent filing.
Meanwhile, the Virgin Islands attorneys said that former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley testified under oath that he discussed Epstein’s ‘very public’ 2006 indictment in Florida with the bank’s CEO Jaime Dimon at the time it was making headlines.
Dimon has previously denied any knowledge of Epstein or his account with JPMorgan until his 2019 arrest on federal charges, saying that he did not recall any conversations about Epstein with top lieutenants.
Staley, 66, led JPMorgan’s asset management business from 2001 to 2009, and its corporate and investment bank from 2009 to 2013. He later spent six years as Barclays Plc’s chief executive.
JPMorgan is separately suing Staley to cover its losses in the lawsuits filed by the Virgin Islands and Epstein’s victims, claiming he concealed what he knew about the disgraced financier and internally vouched for him.
Staley has acknowledged being friendly with Epstein, but denied knowing about his sex trafficking, accusing JPMorgan of using him as a ‘public relations shield’ to deflect blame for its own failures in working with Epstein.
In his own new filing this week, Staley’s attorneys asked for a summary court judgement in his favor, writing: ‘the bank’s effort to scapegoat Mr. Staley amounts to little more than a media stunt to distract from its own egregious compliance failures.’