On Monday JPMorgan Chase announced that they have agreed “in principle” to a settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging the bank facilitated financier Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking operation.
Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.
He was found dead in his New York jail cell a month later while awaiting trial.
His death was ruled a suicide by the city’s medical examiner.
The lawsuit was filed in November of last year in the Southern District of New York by an anonymous Plaintiff, “Jane Doe 1,” a former ballet dancer who claims Epstein sexually abused her from 2006 through 2013.
The anonymous woman accused JPMorgan of financially benefitting from participation in Epstein’s trafficking organization by providing the “requisite financial support” in the form of loans and large withdrawals for the operation to remain operational from 1998 to 2013.
“JP Morgan knowingly and intentionally benefited and received things of value for assisting, supporting, facilitating, and otherwise providing the most critical service for the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking organization,” the lawsuit alleged.
The woman also claimed that JPMorgan repeatedly ignored red flags that Epstein was involved in the trafficking of young women and girls, such as wire transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged hush money to his victims.
“Any association with him was a mistake and we regret it,” JPMorgan said in a prepared statement Monday, according to the Associated Press. “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.”
“We all now understand that Epstein’s behavior was monstrous, and we believe this settlement is in the best interest of all parties, especially the survivors, who suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of this man,” the bank said.
Additional pending litigation filed in May against former CEO of Barclays and JPMorgan executive Jes Staley alleges that the bank’s executive and Epstein had a close personal friendship and participated in the abuse of the plaintiffs.
Staley, a longtime trustee at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, resigned from the college on Nov. 1, 2021.
The college investigated Staley’s ties to Epstein beginning in 2019 but decided at the time he should remain on the board.
A spokesperson for Bowdoin told the Maine Wire in February that the college did not solicit or receive any money from Epstein, who was a prolific donor to other New England area universities and colleges.
The lawsuit alleges that Staley had first-hand knowledge of Epstein’s trafficking operation and visited Epstein’s residences several times while the operation was ongoing.
The plaintiffs claim that emails between Staley and Epstein used the names of Disney princesses to cryptically refer to the sexual encounters Staley had while visiting Epstein.
One 2010 email exchange between Staley and Epstein reads as follows:
Staley: “That was fun. Say hi to Snow White.”
Epstein: “[W]hat character would you like next?”
Staley: “Beauty and the Beast.”
In May, Deutsche Bank AG paid $75 million in a similar lawsuit brought against them by women who claimed the bank facilitated Epstein’s sex trafficking organization and their abuse.
Epstein was a client of Deutsche bank from 2013 to 2018, after using JPMorgan from 1998 to 2013.
Another lawsuit between the U.S. Virgin Islands and JPMorgan Chase is currently pending.
JPMorgan’s settlement awaits approval by the Manhattan federal court.