Late New York financier Jeffrey Epstein sent lewd images of women to a senior executive at JPMorgan Chase that the bank knew about but ignored for years, according to claims in a lawsuit made public this week.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is suing JPMorgan, accusing it of facilitating Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking across Florida and the U.S. territory by “channeling funds” to fund his activities and by concealing his conduct. The U.S. territory filed its lawsuit last month, although specifics about the allegations were only made public on Wednesday. The lawsuit accuses Chase of participating in a sex-trafficking venture.
The bank on Thursday declined to comment about the lawsuit.
Epstein was arrested and faced federal charges in 2019 for allegedly sexually abusing numerous underage girls over several years in exchange for money. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to similar sexual offenses involving minors in Florida, according to the lawsuit.
Virgin Islands prosecutors allege Epstein compensated the girls, most of whom were from Eastern Europe, by wiring them funds from a Chase account.
“These women were trafficked and abused during different intervals between at least 2003 and July 2019, when Epstein was arrested and jailed, and these women received payments, typically multiple payments, between 2003 and 2013 in excess of $1 million collectively,” the prosecutors allege in the lawsuit.
Chase managed 55 separate accounts for Epstein between 1998 and 2013 under the company’s private banking division, the suit states. Jes Staley, who was head of that division and later became CEO of Barclays, exchanged about 1,200 emails with Epstein between 2008 and 2012, according to the suit. Staley and Epstein had developed a close friendship over the years, the lawsuit alleges.
In one message from December 2009, Epstein allegedly wrote to Staley, “[Y]ou were with Larry and I had to put up with…” and attached an indecent image of a young man. Later that same month, Epstein sent a blank email that contained another suggestive photo of a woman, the suit states. Court documents reference but redact the images Epstein allegedly sent.
A lawyer representing Staley told The Telegraph in the U.K. that “our client had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Mr. Epstein.”
Chase had opportunities to cut ties with Epstein in 2006, 2010 and 2011, but instead continued banking with him, the lawsuit alleges.
“JPMorgan knew early on that Epstein was an extremely high-risk client but decided, at multiple points during the relationship, to continue servicing Epstein’s accounts because of his vast wealth and connections with other high net worth individuals,” the lawsuit claims.
Staley left Chase in 2013 and later joined British investment bank Barclays as chief executive. Staley stepped down from Barclays in November 2021 as investigators in the U.K. began probing his ties to Epstein.
Epstein, who was a U.S. Virgin Islands resident and registered sex offender, died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial in a New York jail. A federal judge last year sentenced Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell to 20 years in prison for helping him recruit girls.
Chase closed its Epstein accounts in 2013. The bank cooperated with federal prosecutors as they investigated Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.