JPMorgan Chase calls the US Virgin Islands complicit in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein

Albert Bryan Jr., Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, May 2, 2023.

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JPMorgan Chase in a to research Tuesday filing called the United States The Virgin Islands ‘accomplice in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein’, claiming the sexual predator gave money, advice and favors to high-ranking officials in exchange for looking the other way when he trafficked young women into abuse during his island getaway.

“For two decades, and long after JPMC left Epstein as a client, the entity that has most directly failed to protect public safety and most actively facilitated and benefited from Epstein’s ongoing criminal activity was the plaintiff in this case – the USVI government itself,” the bank said in the Manhattan federal court filing.

“Rather than arresting him, they helped him,” JPMorgan said, citing millions of dollars in tax incentives and other benefits the territory gave Epstein.

The claim comes as JPMorgan defends itself against a lawsuit brought by the Virgin Islands, which alleges the bank knowingly enabled and profited from the sex trafficking of Epstein when he was a client from 1998 to 2013.

A spokesperson for the Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office told CNBC on Tuesday, “JPMorgan Chase facilitated the abuse of Jeffrey Epstein and should be held accountable for breaking the law.”

“This is a clear attempt to shift blame away from JPMorgan Chase, which had a legal responsibility to report the evidence in its possession of Epstein’s human trafficking, and failed to do so,” he said. said the spokesperson.

The bank’s filing on Tuesday asked Judge Jed Rakoff to dismiss a Virgin Islands motion that would prevent JPMorgan from raising certain so-called affirmative defenses at trial.

“USVI’s motion seeks to strike only at specific defenses that threaten to expose his relationship with Epstein,” the filing said.

In a footnote, the filing says the Virgin Islands has had three governors in the past 16 years: John de Jongh, Kenneth Mapp, and current Governor Albert Bryan Jr.

“As detailed here, Epstein had close ties to each of them,” that footnote reads.

Earlier on Tuesday, another court filing revealed for the first time that bryan is due June 6 for trial. A source familiar with the situation told CNBC that JPMorgan had requested the deposition of Bryan, who has served as governor since 2019.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is expected to be deposed in New York on Friday.

Rakoff last week authorized the Virgin Islands to serve a subpoena for You’re here CEO Elon Musk on his electric car company, looking for documents Musk may have showing all communications involving him, Epstein and JPMorgan.

This subpoena is based on the territory’s suspicion that Epstein may have fired Musk or attempted to refer him to the bank as a client.

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Epstein, a former friend of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, maintained a home on a private island in the territory where he sexually abused numerous young women over the years. He used money from his JPMorgan accounts to pay women and fly them there.

In its Tuesday filing, JPMorgan noted that when Epstein was released from a Florida prison after pleading guilty to procuring a minor for sex, he attempted to have his parole transferred from this state in the Virgin Islands, where he registered as a sex. offender. He also maintained his primary residence in the territory, which “places him under the direct jurisdiction and supervision of USVI law enforcement,” the filing said.

The bank alleges there was “a decades-long quid pro quo between Epstein and the USVI government” that took three forms.

“First, senior USVI officials spent years courting and happily accepting influence from Epstein in the form of gifts, favors and political donations,” the filing said.

“Second, in exchange, the USVI granted Epstein preferential treatment in the form of more than $ [amount redacted] million euros in tax incentives, among other benefits. Third, and most troubling, the USVI protected Epstein, creating the perfect conditions for Epstein’s criminal conduct to continue undetected.”

Specifically, the filing says Epstein backed the candidacy of Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands’ delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, after working for the USVI Economic Development Authority, which granted Epstein massive tax advantages”. Plaskett had also worked at a law firm that represented him in business matters, the filing says.

Epstein and his employees donated more than $30,000 to Plaskett’s congressional races, according to the bank.

The filing said Epstein’s “main conduit for spreading money and influence through” the Virgin Islands government was then First Lady Cecile de Jongh, the wife of former Governor de Jongh, who served from 2007 to 2015.

And “despite her public role and official duties, First Lady de Jongh managed Epstein’s USVI-based companies … receiving salary, bonuses and other benefits from Epstein,” the filing said.

Former home of Jeffrey Epstein on the island of Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands.

Emilie Michot | Miami Herald | Getty Images

Much of the details of the claims related to Cecile de Jongh are redacted in the filing, but in one section the bank says that in addition to working for her companies, she “has done a lot of lobbying on her behalf with representatives of the government, including the governor”.

In another heavily redacted section, the filing says the Virgin Islands “assisted Epstein’s criminal activity.” Specific allegations about how the government did this are obscured.

A section of the filing titled “Epstein influenced USVI sex offender legislation and was subject to lax oversight” is almost entirely redacted. In an unredacted section, lawyers for the bank wrote: “Although the USVI conducted on-site visits to Epstein’s residences, these inspections were cursory at best.”

“Despite direct infusions of lucrative tax incentives, [redacted] and lax enforcement, Epstein still could not freely transport and exploit young women without the help of USVI government officials,” the filing states.

“In exchange for Epstein’s money and gifts, the USVI made his life easier,” the filing reads. “The government eased any burdens of his sex offender status. And he made sure no one asked too many questions about him transporting and keeping young girls on his island.”

The lawsuit against JPMorgan was filed in late December by the then Virgin Islands Attorney General. Denise Georges, who a month earlier had secured a $105 million settlement from Epstein’s estate. Days after filing that lawsuit, Bryan fired George, who had served as attorney general for four years.

The governor fired George would have because she failed to warn him that she was planning to sue JPMorgan, which is the largest bank in the United States.

Despite George’s dismissal, the Virgin Islands continued to aggressively pursue their litigation against the bank.

On Tuesday there was another in a series of private conference calls with Rakoff on the case.

A public entry in the docket summarized the results of that conference, which included Virgin Islands lawyers, JPMorgan, former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley and an Epstein accuser who has a separate, similar lawsuit pending against the bank. JPMorgan is trying to shift any legal liability it may have in the lawsuit to Staley, who was a point of contact for Epstein at the bank.

“Albert Bryan, Jr.’s deposition is scheduled for June 6,” this docket entry reads.

The entry also states that “all parties other than JP Morgan are required to contact former officers and directors of JP Morgan only through legal counsel.”

CNBC on Tuesday asked Virgin Islands lawyers and JPMorgan for comment on the conference call.

The charges against Jeffrey Epstein were announced on July 8, 2019 in New York. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Stephanie Keith | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a Manhattan jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested and charged in Manhattan federal court with child sex trafficking.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state charge of soliciting sex from a minor and was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

His earlier criminal case and time in jail, which were known to JPMorgan at the time, came amid his tenure as a client of the bank, where he maintained accounts from 1998 until the bank broke off her relationship with him in 2013.

Epstein then became a client of Deutsche Bank.

German Bank Last week, he agreed to settle a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court brought by another Epstein accuser who alleged the bank enabled and benefited from his sex trafficking. Deutsche Bank will pay $75 million to Epstein victims as part of the deal.

Deutsche Bank agreed in 2020 to pay a $150 million fine to the New York financial regulator over its dealings with Epstein and other issues.

“We recognize our mistake in onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learned from our mistakes and shortcomings,” bank spokesman Dylan Riddle said last week.

—CNBC Eamon Javer contributed to this report.

Correction: Some previous titles in this story have been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Jeffrey Epstein’s name.


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