JPMorgan Chase has made agreements with the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and a former executive named Jes Staley to end lawsuits about sex trafficking by the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. This resolves a big problem that has been affecting the largest bank in the United States for a long time.
These agreements settle the last parts of the legal problems in a story involving women who said Epstein sexually harmed them. This story also involved some of the most powerful people in finance and business around the world.
JPMorgan said it will pay $75 million to the USVI. This money will be divided into $30 million to help charities, $25 million to make law enforcement stronger against human trafficking, and $20 million for lawyers’ fees. The details of the agreement with Staley are secret.
Back in June, JPMorgan agreed to pay $290 million to resolve complaints from many of Epstein’s accusers. Epstein was a customer of JPMorgan from 1998 to 2013 when the bank ended their relationship.
JPMorgan stated that they are not admitting they did anything wrong in these settlements. However, they are very sorry for any connection they had with Epstein. They also mentioned that if they knew he was using their bank for his terrible crimes, they would have stopped doing business with him a long time ago.
The Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands, Ariel Smith, said this settlement is a big win for survivors and for enforcing the law. It should also make other banks on Wall Street more aware of their duty to prevent human trafficking.
Staley’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comments right away. A trial was planned for October 23, but now it won’t happen.
Problems with oversight
In July, the USVI wanted JPMorgan to pay at least $190 million. This includes a $150 million fine and possibly more to settle the lawsuit. The USVI said that JPMorgan continued to treat Epstein as a valuable customer even after he got in trouble for prostitution charges in 2006 and later pleaded guilty. Some bank officials even stayed in touch with him after he was let go.
Both lawsuits showed that JPMorgan didn’t do a good job of keeping an eye on its customers. There were many messages where employees told the bank to stop working with Epstein.
This settlement is a relief for Jamie Dimon, who has been the CEO of JPMorgan since 2006. He said he didn’t know much about Epstein until he got arrested in 2019.
JPMorgan argued that the USVI was also responsible for helping Epstein’s sex trafficking by giving him tax breaks and not watching him closely. They did this in exchange for money and gifts to local officials, including a former first lady. Epstein owned two private islands in the USVI, one of which he supposedly bought to keep people from seeing his bad actions on the other island.
Last November, the USVI reached a settlement of at least $105 million with Epstein’s estate. Deutsche Bank, where Epstein was a customer from 2013 to 2018, also reached a $75 million settlement in May with women who said Epstein sexually harmed them.
Staley left JPMorgan in 2013 and later worked as the CEO of Barclays for six years. JPMorgan wanted him to pay for their losses in these lawsuits and give up eight years of pay. Staley has said he regrets being friends with Epstein and didn’t know about his sex trafficking.
Image Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2023/5/23/jp-morgan-says-us-virgin-islands-harboured-jeffrey-epstein