Women who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual assault are suing the banks, alleging that they enabled Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking operation and disregarded warning signs regarding their wealthy client.
In both lawsuits, class-action status and unspecified monetary damages are demanded. Both of them were brought by attorneys who frequently defended the late financier’s accusers. On Thursday, the lawsuits were submitted to the federal court in New York.
Many of the conclusions from the financial regulator for New York state’s investigation into the relationship between that bank and Epstein are cited in the Deutsche Bank lawsuit. The relationship between Epstein and a former top JPMorgan executive that was under investigation by U.K. regulators is mentioned in the JPMorgan lawsuit.
According to the unnamed plaintiff’s lawsuit against JPMorgan, she was a former ballet dancer in New York who, between 2006 and 2013, was sexually abused by Epstein after being enlisted by another young woman. She claims that his friends were also trafficked with her. According to the lawsuit, large sums of money were taken out of JPMorgan to pay her and other women in cash. According to the lawsuit, Epstein used the money to pay for sex acts.
From roughly 2003 to roughly 2018, a different woman who is suing Deutsche Bank claims Epstein sexually assaulted her, trafficked her to his friends, and paid her in cash for sex acts. According to the lawsuit, the bank disregarded warning signs such as payments to numerous young women and sizable cash withdrawals. Epstein, his affiliated companies, and associates had more than 40 accounts at Deutsche Bank, according to the New York regulator.
The lawsuits claim that by enabling Epstein to pay women for sex acts, both banks assisted and took part in his alleged sex trafficking, and that the banks benefited from Epstein’s activities. After Epstein admitted in 2008 in a Florida state court to soliciting prostitution from a minor, both banks continued to work with him for years. While awaiting a federal sex trafficking trial, Epstein passed away in jail in 2019.
According to the lawsuit against JPMorgan, Epstein began banking with the company sometime around 1998 and formed a close bond with Jes Staley, who was the division’s head of private banking at the time. When his relationship with JPMorgan soured around 2013, the lawsuits claim that Epstein turned to Deutsche Bank.
According to the lawsuit, JPMorgan ignored Epstein’s actions in return for financial gain. At the height of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking, in 2004, he allegedly introduced Mr. Staley to wealthy clients and helped the bank organize its deal to purchase a majority stake in Highbridge Capital.
According to the lawsuit, longtime Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s accounts were also held by JPMorgan, and between 1999 and 2007, she allegedly received $31 million from Epstein as payment for her assistance with sex trafficking. Epstein was visited by Mr. Staley while he was serving his sentence in Florida following his guilty plea in 2008, the lawsuit claims.
According to the lawsuit against Paul Morris, one of Epstein’s private wealth managers at JPMorgan and later at Deutsche Bank, the men decided to add Epstein as a client despite his prior conviction after Morris informed them via email in 2013 that Epstein’s accounts could generate $100 million to $300 million in money flows and $2 million to $4 million in annual fees.
The New York regulator stated that some of the payments Epstein made from his Deutsche Bank accounts were suspicious in its 2020 findings. For instance, it claimed that Epstein wired more than 120 beneficiaries of the Butterfly Trust $2.65 million in total. According to the regulator, some payments for hotel costs, tuition, and rent went to individuals who had been identified as co-conspirators in his prior cases involving sexual abuse or to women with surnames from Eastern Europe.
After the Miami Herald reported in 2018 on accusations made by women that they were victims of Epstein as young girls, Deutsche Bank severed ties with Epstein. However, the lawsuit claims that a representative of Deutsche Bank provided reference letters to other banks.
Epstein left an estate worth at least $577 million that has been the subject of litigation. Last year, Ms. Maxwell was convicted by a federal jury for her role in helping recruit and groom teenage girls for him.