Former JPMorgan CEO advised embattled banker Jes Staley to meet Jeffrey Epstein, citing his extensive connections in New York.

Former JPMorgan CEO advised embattled banker Jes Staley to meet Jeffrey Epstein, citing his extensive connections in New York.

JPMorgan and Jeffrey Epstein: A Controversial Connection Revealed

Image: JPMorgan

The association between JPMorgan and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein has come under scrutiny. According to documents filed in Manhattan federal court, Epstein, who was accused of sex trafficking and died in 2019, had a close relationship with the bank, generating over $8 million in revenue for its private banking investment business. Epstein referred numerous American billionaires, including Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, to JPMorgan. However, this relationship has become one of the bank’s most controversial.

The US Virgin Islands (USVI), where Epstein had a private retreat and allegedly brought some of his victims, has sued JPMorgan for enabling his sex trafficking activities. USVI seeks at least $190 million from the bank, accusing it of prioritizing the revenue generated from Epstein’s business and connections over acting on warning signs. In response, JPMorgan has denied any knowledge of Epstein’s crimes and expressed regret for having retained him as a client.

In a recent court filing, USVI presented its case against the bank, which included hundreds of thousands of pages of internal bank documents and depositions from current and former banking staff. The USVI seeks partial summary judgment in their lawsuit, alleging that JPMorgan ignored signs that Epstein was using his bank accounts to finance the trafficking of young women for sex.

JPMorgan, in a separate filing, argued that the USVI suit is flawed, claiming that the territory enabled Epstein’s crimes by waiving his sex offender monitoring requirements and turning a blind eye to his arrival at local airports with young women and girls. The bank also denied the suggestion that it allowed Epstein to fly under the radar, stating that it filed approximately 150 currency transaction reports related to Epstein between 2002 and 2013.

Amidst this controversy, emails between compliance officers and executives have emerged, suggesting that the bank knew or should have known about Epstein’s involvement in sex trafficking. While compliance staff recommended in 2011 that JPMorgan fire Epstein, internal emails showed that his interest in young women became the subject of jokes within the bank. Former asset and wealth management CFO David Brigstocke, comparing another client’s house to Epstein’s, wrote to Mary Erdoes, the current asset and wealth management chief: “Reminded me of JE’s house, except it was more tasteful and fewer nymphettes.” It wasn’t until 2013, a year after Staley, Epstein’s chief supporter, had left JPMorgan, that Erdoes fired Epstein as a client.

Despite severing their official ties with Epstein, JPMorgan continued to do business with him behind the scenes until his death. The USVI alleges that the bank relied on Epstein for client referrals, and a former private banker at JPMorgan even met with Epstein several times regarding business with private equity titan Leon Black, who was once an Epstein client. Additionally, the USVI highlighted multiple wire payments made by Epstein between his accounts and those of young women. Notably, all the individuals identified as victims or recruiters in police or press reports regarding Epstein’s activities banked with JPMorgan, according to the USVI.

The contentious connection between JPMorgan and Epstein appears to have been centered around Staley, the former private banking chief. Staley claimed that he raised the issue with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon when Epstein was indicted in 2006. However, Dimon has denied any involvement in Epstein’s accounts, stating that he never knew or met Epstein, and testified to never having discussed Epstein with Staley.

Besides seeking financial penalties and disgorgement, the USVI is demanding reforms at JPMorgan to protect against human trafficking. The lawsuit, along with a recently settled class-action suit brought by one of Epstein’s victims, has shed light on the depth of the relationship between Staley and Epstein.

The case, titled USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, is being heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For inquiries or comments regarding this case, neither JPMorgan nor Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, have responded at the time of writing.