JPMorgan Faces Hefty $190 Million Demand in U.S. Virgin Islands Lawsuit over Epstein’s Sex Trafficking

US Virgin Islands Seeks $190 Million from JPMorgan Chase in Jeffrey Epstein Lawsuit

The US Virgin Islands has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, seeking at least $190 million in compensation. The lawsuit accuses the largest bank in the US of turning a blind eye to the sex trafficking activities of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. In its filing, the territory is asking for a $150 million civil fine and for JPMorgan to forfeit at least $40 million from their 15-year relationship with Epstein. Additionally, the US Virgin Islands is demanding that the bank pay damages to Epstein’s victims, as well as punitive damages. They also want JPMorgan to separate its business and compliance functions and hire a compliance consultant.

US Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith emphasized the importance of financial penalties and conduct changes to hold JPMorgan accountable for prioritizing its profits over public safety. In response to the lawsuit, JPMorgan acknowledged the ongoing settlement discussions but stated that the filing does not accurately reflect the nature of those conversations. The bank dismissed the US Virgin Islands’ arguments for damages as “misdirected” and “not well founded.”

This is the first time the US Virgin Islands has specified a monetary figure in its lawsuit. The territory alleges that JPMorgan provided banking services to Epstein from 1998 to 2013, enabling him to pay his victims. The lawsuit further claims that the bank ignored internal warnings and red flags because it considered Epstein a valuable client. The requested $40 million does not include the difficult-to-quantify value of Epstein allegedly introducing JPMorgan to high-profile individuals such as Britain’s Prince Andrew and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

The trial for this case is scheduled for October 23, 2022. The lawsuit against JPMorgan is the largest unresolved legal matter related to Epstein. Last month, JPMorgan agreed to pay $290 million to settle a lawsuit brought by dozens of Epstein’s accusers. Deutsche Bank, another bank where Epstein was a client, reached a $75 million settlement in May. Both settlement agreements are awaiting final court approval.

Epstein’s estate has already paid out over $125 million to his victims and over $105 million to the US Virgin Islands. Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend, was convicted in December 2021 for her role in aiding his abuses.

In its defense, JPMorgan has attempted to shift blame onto the US Virgin Islands. The bank accused the territory of actively facilitating Epstein by providing him with tax incentives and waiving sex offender monitoring requirements in exchange for cash or gifts to local law enforcement and top officials. JPMorgan is also pursuing legal action against Jes Staley, a former executive who was close to Epstein during his time at the bank, to cover its losses in the two lawsuits. Staley has denied knowledge of Epstein’s sex trafficking activities and expressed regret for his association with the financier.

The case is being heard in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York under the caption “US Virgin Islands v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA.”