JPMorgan knew about the Epstein allegations by 2006, the lawsuit alleges

JPMorgan Chase was aware in 2006 that Jeffrey Epstein had been accused of paying cash to have “underage girls and young women” brought to his home – seven years before the bank dropped him as a client, legal filings in New York Wednesday.

Mary Erdoes, now head of asset management at the U.S. bank, said under oath in a recent deposition that JPMorgan knew about the allegations by 2006, lawyers wrote in recently unredacted portions of a lawsuit filed against the bank by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home.

“In 201[ads1]0, JPMorgan’s compliance officials decided that Epstein ‘had to go,'” according to the filings. The bank eventually ended its relationship with Epstein in 2013.

The US Virgin Islands is seeking damages from JPMorgan, alleging that it benefited from human trafficking by continuing to retain Epstein as a client even after he was arrested in 2006 on a state charge of procuring a minor for prostitution in Florida. The disgraced financier died by suicide in 2019 while in prison awaiting trial on federal charges.

Lawyers for the US Virgin Islands provided details of internal emails in the years after the arrest between JPMorgan employees and executives, including Erdoes and Jes Staley, who handled the bank’s relationship with Epstein.

The 66-year-old Staley, who later became head of Barclays, is being sued by JPMorgan after an alleged Epstein victim said he had personally abused her. Staley has denied the allegations, describing them as “slanderous” and “baseless but serious”.

The emails contained references to news stories about Epstein’s alleged involvement in child trafficking and abuse of girls as young as 14, the US Virgin Islands said.

A compliance memo from JPMorgan sent in 2011 noted that “Epstein had settled a dozen civil suits out of court from his victims regarding solicitation for an undisclosed amount”. A senior compliance official wrote that there was “a lot of smoke. Lots of questions.”

Another message sent in 2011 promised to “closely monitor the accounts and cash usage going forward”, the complaint added. Epstein withdrew large amounts of cash each year during his time banking with JPMorgan, the US Virgin Islands claimed. That included “more than $800,000 per year in 2004 and 2005”.

Erdoes testified that the decision to terminate Epstein as a customer was made after “she became aware that the withdrawals were ‘actual cash,'” the US Virgin Islands said, referring to paper bills.

The US Virgin Islands have previously alleged that senior executives at JPMorgan joked about Epstein’s proclivities. In its filing on Wednesday, the Territory claimed that in 2008 Erdoes received an email asking her if Epstein was at an event “with Miley Cyrus,” who was no older than 16 at the time.

The filing comes days after longtime CEO Jamie Dimon told CNN that JPMorgan has “some of the best lawyers in the world” working in compliance “who consider all of these things and make decisions at that time based on what they know.”

Asked whether the bank should have kept Epstein as a client after his 2008 conviction, Dimon added “hindsight is a wonderful gift”.

Dimon is to be questioned under oath next month about his knowledge of the decision to retain Epstein. He has denied being involved in any review of Epstein’s account.

JPMorgan declined to comment. It has previously described the lawsuit as baseless. A person familiar with the matter said the bank became aware of the allegations after reading newspaper reports about Epstein’s arrest.

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