- Lawyers in the US Virgin Islands have argued that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was responsible, along with former senior bank executive Jes Staley, for facilitating sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein.
- The lawyer’s argument pushed back against JPMorgan’s decision to lay any legal blame on Staley for his business relationship with the late Epstein.
- “Jamie Dimon knew in 2008 that his billionaire client was a sex trafficker,” U.S. Virgin Islands attorney Mimi Liu told Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.
- Epstein, a former friend of Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, died by suicide in federal prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
A lawyer from the US Virgin Islands has argued in federal court that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and former bank executive Jes Staley knew about sex trafficking by notorious bank client Jeffrey Epstein.
The lawyer’s argument pushed back against JPMorgan’s decision earlier this month to transfer all legal responsibility for its business relationship with the late Epstein to Staley alone.
“Jamie Dimon knew in 2008 that his billionaire client was a sex trafficker,” attorney Mimi Liu told Manhattan U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff during a hearing Thursday night, referring to the year Epstein was first charged with sex crimes.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, during an interview with Jim Cramer, February 23, 2023.
“If Staley is a rogue employee, why isn’t Jamie Dimon?” Liu said during the hearing, which dealt with JPMorgan’s efforts to dismiss the Virgin Islands lawsuit against the bank over its relationship with Epstein.
The attorney continued, “Staley knew, Dimon knew, JPMorgan Chase knew” of Epstein’s criminal conduct.
Liu said Epstein made multiple cash transactions and wire transfers, including sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to several women, which should have been officially flagged as suspicious.
“They broke all the rules to facilitate his sex trafficking in exchange for Epstein’s wealth, connections and references,” Liu explained.
“This case wasn’t just Jes Staley…there will be many documents that will go far beyond his office to the executive suite,” she said.
A lawyer for JPMorgan disputed these arguments, “in particular the fact that Jamie Dimon had specific knowledge”.
Dimon is not a named defendant in the lawsuit against the bank.
Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays Plc, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, January 24, 2019.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
JPMorgan spokeswoman Patricia Wexler said in a statement, “It is unfair for CNBC to report the lawyers’ unsubstantiated arguments as fact.”
Wexler also said, “Jamie Dimon has no recollection of reviewing Epstein’s accounts.”
Staley denied knowledge of Epstein’s unlawful conduct. He was CEO of Barclays from 2015 until the end of 2021, when he stepped down after an investigation by UK financial regulators into his links to Epstein.
Virgin Islands lawyers previously highlighted an August 2008 internal email to JPMorgan that suggested Epstein’s account would be closed that year due to concerns about his conduct.
“I would consider Epstein’s assets a likely exit for 2008 (about $120m?) as I can’t imagine they will stay (pending Dimon’s review),” an unidentified employee wrote in this email, mentioned in the Virgin Islands. trial.
The email came two years after JPMorgan’s Global Corporate Security Division found multiple newspaper articles “which detail Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in Florida for the crime of soliciting underage prostitutes,” the report noted. trial.
US financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Sex Offender Registry on March 28, 2017 and obtained by Reuters on July 10, 2019.
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services | Documents | Reuters
The Virgin Islands lawsuit against the bank alleges that Epstein’s 15-year client relationship with the bank helped him transport young women, whom he and others then sexually abused at his Virgin Islands property.
The lawsuit was filed three years after Epstein, who was a former friend of former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, killed himself in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
JPMorgan said Dimon was not involved in decisions related to Epstein’s account at the bank.
Last week, the bank sued Staley, its former chief investment banker, alleging he is legally responsible for the Virgin Islands lawsuits and Epstein victims related to Epstein’s relationship with JPMorgan. The lawsuit seeks to recover more than $80 million in compensation received by Staley.
During oral arguments on Thursday, a lawyer for the bank said “all roads go to Mr. Staley.”
“It will be central to this case that there are one or two” trials for each trial, the lawyer said.
Epstein was a private client of the bank until 2013, at least in part because Staley vouched for him.
But in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of procuring an underage prostitute, a crime that was widely reported at the time. He then served 13 months in prison.
“In 2013 – the year JP Morgan ended its relationship with Epstein – JPMorgan reported in the Epstein story that ‘[p]uh banking policy, criminals [like Epstein] are considered high risk and require additional approval,” the Virgin Islands suit notes.
Rakoff, the judge, did not rule Thursday on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. He said he would rule on that issue by the end of March.