JPMorgan settles lawsuit with Epstein victims

JPMorgan Chase is ready to pay $290 million as part of a settlement with victims of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC on Monday.

The settlement does not include an acknowledgment of liability by the bank, the person said.

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The announcement of the settlement came just hours before a judge ruled that the case could be tried as a class action in US District Court in Manhattan. The bank did not provide details of the agreement in this announcement. The person familiar with the deal requested anonymity to discuss the details of the settlement.

“The parties in Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA have notified the court that they have reached an agreement in principle to resolve the alleged class action lawsuit relating to the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein, which is subject to court approval,” the bank said in a press release early Monday morning.

“The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, particularly the survivors who were victims of Epstein’s horrific abuse,” added JPMorgan.

The settlement will be announced a month later Deutsche Bank, where Epstein became a client after he was kicked out by JPMorgan in 2013, settled with the Epstein victims for $75 million. The legal battle between JPMorgan and the US Virgin Islands is ongoing.

Monday’s settlement follows suits filed last year by an unnamed woman, using the alias Jane Doe, alleging that the bank knowingly profited from and facilitated Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. The woman, who claims she was raped and trafficked, is suing on behalf of a “large number” of other victims of that operation.

“We all now understand that Epstein’s behavior was outrageous and we believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, particularly the survivors who suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of this man,” JPMorgan said in a separate statement Monday morning.

“Any association with him was a mistake and we regret it. We would never have done business with him if we believed he was in any way using our bank to commit heinous crimes,” the bank said.

Brad Edwards, attorney for lead plaintiff in the case, praised the “enormously valuable” support the Virgin Islands provided to Epstein’s victims. “We recognize the importance of the government’s continued litigation against JPMorgan Chase to prevent future crimes,” Edwards said in a statement.

In a court opinion released later Monday morning, Judge Jed Rakoff wrote that the plaintiffs qualify for a class action.

The pool of alleged victims in the case likely exceeds the 40-person limit for group certification, the judge wrote, rejecting JPMorgan’s calculation of 32 people with valid claims.

The bank limited its count to people who were sexually abused or trafficked by Epstein in or after 2007, Rakoff wrote. However, the judge found that multiple pieces of evidence — including reports of suspicious activity filed in connection with Epstein’s accounts in 2002 — indicated that JPMorgan knew or should have known about the sex trade before.

If so, the group of victims could number “well over 100 people,” Rakoff wrote.

And “even if the proposed class is limited to people who were sexually abused or trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein after JP Morgan allegedly either knew or should have known about Epstein’s sex trafficking company, the class likely includes well over 40 people,” Rakoff wrote.

JPMorgan still faces a lawsuit with the U.S. Virgin Islands on Oct. 23 over the bank’s relationship with Epstein. JPMorgan’s claims against former chief executive Jes Staley, who was a friend of Epstein’s, are also active, the bank said. JPMorgan argues that Staley is responsible for any civil liability a jury might find in the Epstein case. The company also wants to reclaim more than $80 million in salaries from the former executive.

Staley denied having knowledge of Epstein’s sex trade.

“We are pleased to hear of the settlement, which offers victims of Jeffrey Epstein some compensation for JPMorgan Chase’s role in abetting Epstein’s crimes against them,” a spokesman for the US Attorney General of the Virgin Islands said in a statement.

“The US Virgin Islands will continue enforcement efforts to ensure full accountability for JPMorgan’s violations of the law and to prevent the bank from supporting and profiting from human trafficking in the future. The US Virgin Islands is committed to protecting women and girls who may.” “Otherwise we will be victims in the future,” the spokesman said.

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The victim and the Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a private island where he sexually abused girls, both allege JPMorgan continued to work with Epstein after learning he had been a predator and facilitated his sex trafficking crimes. However, the Virgin Islands government is making progress, pointing to several new pieces of evidence with email chains showing greater concern within the bank about Epstein than previously known, particularly among its legal and compliance staff.

The announcement comes more than a week after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon gave testimony in the Epstein cases. On Friday, attorneys for the Epstein victim, identified in the documents as Jane Doe 1, asked the court to reinstate Dimon’s testimony.

The prosecutor’s attorneys also attempted to reinstate the testimony of Mary Erdoes, CEO of JPMorgan’s Wealth and Asset Management division. Mary Casey, who was Epstein’s banker at JPMorgan for about a decade; and a fourth individual identified in the filing merely as a “representative” of JPMorgan. According to a filing, all four would be asked for their initial statements on documents handed to them.

JPMorgan has denied wrongdoing and regrets having had Epstein as a client. Dimon had said he barely knew Epstein until 2019, when federal authorities arrested him.

One of the documents produced late was a timeline that referenced emails in which Staley, the former JPMorgan executive, asked Epstein a question. (Staley left another major bank, Barclays, in late 2021 following an investigation into his Epstein relationship.)

“The plaintiff would have confronted the CEO of JPMC, Mr. Dimon, during his testimony about this document if it had been presented in a timely manner,” a court filing said.

JPMorgan said Dimon did not review Epstein’s accounts when he was a client there from 1998 to 2013, when JPMorgan severed ties with him. That termination comes years after concerns were raised at the bank about keeping him as a customer and five years after he pleaded guilty to a Florida indictment of soliciting sex from a minor.

Epstein died by suicide in a New York prison in 2019, just weeks after federal authorities charged him with girl sex trafficking.

Despite his criminal past, Epstein nonetheless maintained friendships and relationships with the richest and most powerful people in the world, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom, and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.

NBC archival footage shows Trump celebrating with Jeffrey Epstein in 1992

Read the full press release:

JPMorgan Chase and Jane Doe 1 Agree to Settle Epstein Case Lawsuit

NEW YORK, June 12, 2023 – The parties in Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, have notified the court that they have reached an agreement in principle to resolve the pending class action allegation related to the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein court approval.

Litigation remains pending between the US Virgin Islands and JPMorgan Chase, as well as JPMorgan Chase’s claims against Jes Staley.

The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, particularly the survivors who were victims of Epstein’s horrific abuses.

– CNBC’s Eamon Javers and Dawn Giel contributed to this article.

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