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U.S. Virgin Islands Seeks $190M From JPMorgan In Epstein Sex Trafficking Case

Territory demands minimum payment and policy changes to hold bank accountable.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is seeking a minimum payment of $190 million and potentially more from JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) to resolve its lawsuit alleging that the bank had turned a blind eye to late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking activities. 

Jeffrey Epstein attended the Launch of RADAR MAGAZINE at Hotel QT on May 18, 2005, in New York City. (NEIL RASMUS/PATRICK MCMULLAN/GETTY IMAGES)

In a court filing in Manhattan on Friday, the U.S. territory requested $150 million in civil penalties and at least $40 million tied to the bank’s 15-year relationship with Epstein, Reuters reported.

This isn’t the first time JPMorgan Chase faced a lawsuit in connection with Jeffrey Epstein.

The banking giant had previously agreed to pay $290 million to settle a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Epstein’s victims but has not yet settled with the Virgin Islands government.

The Virgin Islands’ attorney general’s office disclosed the figures in response to a court inquiry. Additionally, the territory aims to establish new policies at the bank to prevent it from providing financial services to human traffickers and sex offenders. 

“Financial penalties, as well as conduct changes, are important to make sure that JPMorgan Chase knows the cost of putting its own profits ahead of public safety,” said U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith in a statement.

JPMorgan spokesperson Patricia Wexler told The New York Times that the filing does not reflect settlement discussions and asserted that the Virgin Islands’ legal arguments are being contested in court. 

Earlier in June, a U.S. judge granted preliminary approval to the $75 million settlement between Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) and Epstein’s victims. The court settlement covered women sexually abused or trafficked by Epstein or his associates from Aug. 19, 2013 until his suicide on August 10, 2019. 

In 2019, JPMorgan reviewed its connections with Epstein. This led to the discovery that Epstein had provided frequent business advice to Jes Staley, a former JPMorgan executive.

JPMorgan’s internal report showed that Epstein extended invitations to Staley to attend meetings alongside senior officials from foreign governments.

The bank, however, has blamed top U.S. Virgin Islands officials, saying they looked away from Epstein’s crimes in exchange for cash and perks.

JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon claimed that he had never met Epstein.

“JPMorgan’s banking relationship with Epstein was known at the highest levels of the bank,” said the U.S. Virgin Islands in a written complaint.

Epstein was indicted and imprisoned in July 2019 on federal charges of operating a sex trafficking ring. Before his trial began, he was found dead in a Manhattan jail. 

His former associate, Ghislane Maxwell, was found guilty in a federal court on five counts related to sex trafficking in 2021.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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