A new court filing alleges JPMorgan Chase executives were aware of sex abuse and trafficking allegations against its then-client Jeffrey Epstein, several years before the financial institution cut ties.
The latest complaint, part of a lawsuit against the bank filed by the attorney general for the US Virgin Islands (USVI), adds an additional count alleging that JPMorgan obstructed federal law enforcement and prosecuting agencies pursuing Epstein.
“JP Morgan’s relationship with Epstein in allowing his sex-trafficking venture to access large sums of cash each year went far beyond a normal (and lawful) banking relationship,” the filing says, adding that bank executives were also aware of potentially suspicious cash withdrawals.
Epstein, 66, was a client of the financial institution until 2013. He was found dead in a New York prison in August 2019.
Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach estate, in which he paid girls as young as 14 for sex.
The new complaint against JP Morgan, filed Wednesday, comes days after its CEO Jamie Dimon sat down with CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an exclusive interview.
Dimon told Harlow that “hindsight is a fabulous gift,” when asked whether the bank should have acted sooner after Epstein entered a guilty plea to soliciting prostitution with a minor in Florida in 2008.
A JP Morgan spokesperson declined to comment to CNN about the newly filed complaint, which was part of the lawsuit filed in December.
Attorneys for JP Morgan have denied the allegations. They accused the USVI government of looking for “deeper pockets,” according to court filings.
The amended complaint details internal email exchanges and documents, alleging several examples that refute Dimon’s suggestion that the financial institution needed “hindsight” regarding Epstein.
According to the filing, JPMorgan executive Mary Erdoes “admitted in her deposition that JPMorgan was aware by 2006 that Epstein was accused of paying cash to have underage girls and young women brought to his home.”
“Mary Erdoes testified that JP Morgan terminated Epstein as a customer in 2013 after she became aware that the withdrawals were ‘actual cash,’” the filing alleged. Erdoes’ deposition was taken last month.
In addition, the filing claims that the JPMorgan Rapid Response Team noted in 2006 that Epstein “routinely” made cash withdrawals in amounts from $40,000 to $80,000 several times per month, totaling over $750,000 per year. Officials concluded that year that “his account ‘should be classified as high risk’ and require special approval.”
Internal emails quoted in the filing show JP Morgan employees including senior executives discussed coverage of the Epstein allegations for years after 2006 until he was terminated as a client seven years later. High level bank officials also met about Epstein’s account and the allegations against him as far back as 2008, according to the court filing.
In 2010, the company’s risk management division flagged Epstein’s official status as a sex offender. That was two years after he pleaded guilty to solicitation of prostitution with a minor in 2008 and spent about 13 months in prison.
“See below new allegations of an investigation related to child trafficking – are you still comfortable with this client who is now a registered sex offender,” according to an email in the newly unredacted portions of the court filing.
Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime confidante of Epstein’s who was also a JP Morgan client, was flagged in 2011 by the bank’s anti-money laundering compliance director when she allegedly sought to open an account for a “personal recruitment consulting business.”
“What does she mean by personal recruitment? Are you sure this will have nothing to do with Jeffrey? If you want to proceed, I suggest that we flag this as a High Risk Client,” the director wrote in an internal email.
Also that year, a senior compliance official reviewing JP Morgan’s information on Epstein called him a “sugar daddy,” noting his sponsorship of private bank accounts and credit cards for two 18-year-olds “that appear to be part of his inner entourage,” the lawsuit says.
Last month, a federal district judge presiding over the case in Manhattan ruled that the lawsuit against JPMorgan could move forward, partially denying the bank’s motion to dismiss the suit.