JPMorgan reported Epstein transactions as suspicious to the US Treasury Department, lawyer says.
A lawyer for the US Virgin Islands has said that JPMorgan Chase told United States authorities it processed more than $1bn for Jeffrey Epstein over 16 years.
JPMorgan reported the transactions as suspicious to the US Department of the Treasury following Epstein’s suicide in 2019, Mimi Liu, a lawyer for the territory, said at a hearing concerning its lawsuit against the largest US bank.
The Reuters news agency said it did not view the bank’s disclosures to the Treasury, which are not public. A JPMorgan spokesperson declined a Reuters request for comment.
Epstein had been a JPMorgan client from 1998 to 2013, when the bank fired him. The disgraced financier had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges at the time of his death.
The US Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two private islands, is suing JPMorgan for at least $190m and likely much more, saying it ignored red flags that Epstein was running a sex trafficking operation because he was a lucrative client.
JPMorgan has denied knowing that Epstein was running a sex trafficking operation, and has faulted the territory for having a cozy relationship with him.
Liu mentioned the $1bn amount, which had not been previously disclosed, in arguing that US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan should find before the case goes to trial that the bank participated in Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said no reasonable juror could find that JPMorgan was in the dark about its jet-setting client.
“JPMorgan was a full service bank for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking,” Liu said.
Felicia Ellsworth, a lawyer for JPMorgan, said it was not appropriate for the judge to determine the question of the bank’s knowledge before trial, because current and former employees have testified that they were unaware of Epstein’s sex trafficking.
She said JPMorgan notified the Treasury Department at least six times about Epstein’s transactions, including as early as 2002.
Ellsworth also disputed the US Virgin Islands’ claim that JPMorgan obstructed investigations into Epstein, saying the bank had asked federal authorities about their own probes into his conduct.
That is “the polar opposite of trying to obstruct,” she said.
An October 23 trial is scheduled. Rakoff said he would decide by the end of September whether to resolve major legal disputes sooner.
In June, Rakoff preliminarily approved JPMorgan’s $290m settlement with women who say Epstein abused them.
Deutsche Bank, where Epstein was a client from 2013 to 2018, had earlier reached a $75m settlement with his accusers.