The bank is being sued by the US Virgin Islands for its apparently cozy relationship with the notorious paedophile.
JPMorgan handled more than $1 billion of Jeffery Epstein’s money over a 16-year period while bank management ignored calls to sever ties with the convicted sex offender, lawyers claimed Thursday of the US Virgin Islands.
The transactions took place between 1998 and 2013, attorney Mimi Liu told a hearing in Manhattan, according to Reuters.
The US Virgin Islands, home to Epstein’s private island of Little Saint James, filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan last year. According to the lawsuit, the bank’s top executives had often joked about the financier and his penchant for young girls. This is despite repeated efforts by compliance officials to have Epstein’s account classified as “high risk,” and urged management to sever ties with the paedophile, who was convicted of recruiting a child into prostitution in 2008.
The Virgin Islands argued that the government could have learned of Epstein’s crimes sooner if JPMorgan had correctly reported the suspicious transactions on his account. These included a $600,000 payment to fly a 14-year-old girl to the United States from Europe, who officials described as his daughter. “helper or young lady he brought from Prague (or some place like that).”
Thursday’s hearing marked the first time the amount of money JPMorgan handled for Epstein has been made public. “JPMorgan was a full-service bank for the sex trafficking of Jeffrey Epstein”, Liu pleaded in court.
The Virgin Islands is asking for a minimum of $190 million from the bank.
JPMorgan denies harboring Epstein. Lawyers for the bank argued that several employees reported suspicious transactions on Epstein’s account to the US Treasury Department as early as 2002 and asked federal authorities to investigate his conduct. Additionally, JPMorgan’s legal team accused the Virgin Islands of turning a blind eye to alleged sex crimes in Little Saint James.
Earlier this summer, JPMorgan claimed it severed ties with Epstein in 2013. However, Liu accused the bank of processing more than $1.1 million in payments from Epstein to “girls or women” after this date.
Epstein was arrested in 2019 and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls, but was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell before he could stand trial. His death was ruled a suicide, although this official explanation was met with skepticism by some due to his connections to wealthy and powerful figures including former US President Bill Clinton, current CIA Director William Burns and Britain’s Prince Andrew.
JPMorgan settled another Epstein-related lawsuit in June, paying $290 million to a group of women who claimed they were sexually assaulted by the billionaire while he was a client of the bank.
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