NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Portal) – A lawyer for the U.S. Virgin Islands said on Thursday that JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) had told U.S. authorities it had paid more than $1 billion over 16 years Jeffrey Epstein handled.
JPMorgan reported the transactions to the U.S. Treasury Department as suspicious after Epstein’s suicide in 2019, Mimi Liu, a lawyer for the territory, said at a hearing on its lawsuit against the largest U.S. bank.
Portal has not seen the bank’s disclosures to the Treasury Department because they are not public. A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.
Epstein was a JPMorgan client from 1998 to 2013, when the bank fired him. The disgraced financier was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges at the time of his death.
The U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two private islands, is suing JPMorgan for at least $190 million and likely much more, saying the company ignored warnings that Epstein ran a sex trade because he was a lucrative customer .
JPMorgan has denied knowing that Epstein ran a sex trafficking operation and has accused the territory of having a cozy relationship with him.
Liu mentioned the $1 billion amount, which had not been previously disclosed, and argued that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan should determine before the trial that the bank was involved in Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said no reasonable juror could find that JPMorgan was in the dark about its jet-setting customers.
“JPMorgan was a full-service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation,” Liu said.
Felicia Ellsworth, a lawyer for JPMorgan, said it was not appropriate for the judge to address the question of the bank’s knowledge before trial because current and former employees have testified that they knew nothing about Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said JPMorgan informed the Treasury Department about Epstein’s transactions at least six times, including as early as 2002.
Ellsworth also disputed the U.S. Virgin Islands’ claim that JPMorgan obstructed the investigation into Epstein, saying the bank had asked federal authorities about their own investigation into his conduct.
This is “the exact opposite of trying to obstruct,” she said.
A trial is scheduled for October 23rd. Rakoff said he will decide by the end of September whether major litigation will be resolved sooner.
In June, Rakoff tentatively approved JPMorgan’s $290 million settlement with women who claim Epstein abused them.
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), where Epstein was a customer from 2013 to 2018, had previously reached a $75 million settlement with his accusers.
Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Edited by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool
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