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JPMorgan Chase said on Tuesday it had agreed settlements with the US Virgin Islands and Jes Staley to resolve legal battles over its dealings with Jeffrey Epstein’s human trafficking operation.
The settlements aim to draw a line under damaging lawsuits that have revealed details of JPMorgan’s ties to the late sex offender and led to its chair and chief executive Jamie Dimon being questioned for several hours under oath this year.
The cases have also attracted scrutiny for Staley, the former chief executive of Barclays who previously became acquainted with Epstein as a senior private banker at JPMorgan.
JPMorgan will pay $30mn to USVI anti-human trafficking charities, $25mn to the USVI for investment in its law enforcement and $20mn in legal fees, the bank said in a statement. A trial in the case had been set to begin next month. The USVI, where Epstein had a home, had sought a payout of at least $190mn from the bank.
JPMorgan has strenuously denied any responsibility for Epstein’s crimes. “While the settlement does not involve admissions of liability, the firm deeply regrets any association with this man, and would never have continued doing business with him if it believed he was using the bank in any way to commit his heinous crimes,” it said.
JPMorgan also said it had reached an agreement with Staley to resolve its claims against him. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The USVI said it had secured commitments from JPMorgan to “implement and maintain meaningful anti-trafficking measures” as part of the settlement.
The agreement “should sound the alarm on Wall Street about banks’ responsibilities under the law to detect and prevent human trafficking”, said Ariel Smith, the USVI’s attorney-general. “We are proud to have stood alongside the survivors throughout this litigation, and this settlement reflects our continued commitment to them.”
Lawyers for Staley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
JPMorgan had sued Staley in March to hold him liable for any penalties the bank would have to pay in the lawsuits related to Epstein. It also had demanded that Staley return more than $80mn in compensation for allegedly failing to fully disclose the extent of his relationship with Epstein.
Staley has denied any wrongdoing and described JPMorgan’s allegations as “slanderous” and “baseless but serious”.
The USVI case is one of two lawsuits JPMorgan has faced over its dealings with Epstein, who was a client of its private bank from 1998 until 2013, when it terminated the relationship. Epstein was alleged to have had hundreds of millions of dollars at JPMorgan.
JPMorgan paid $290mn this year to resolve the other lawsuit, brought on behalf of women who said they had been abused by Epstein, in which the bank was also accused of ignoring multiple warnings about his sex crimes.
Dimon had to give a seven-hour deposition in response to the lawsuits in May.
Public court filings in the cases described how internal red flags about Epstein were dismissed for years, and gave new glimpses into his finances and dealings with powerful elites.
Epstein was briefly jailed in Florida in 2008 after pleading guilty to procuring a minor for prostitution. In 2019, he was charged by federal prosecutors with sex trafficking of minors and died by suicide in jail while awaiting trial.
The lawsuits also exposed new details about the relationship between Epstein and Staley, who resigned from Barclays in 2021 after seeing preliminary conclusions of an investigation by UK regulators, which examined whether he had mischaracterised his relationship with Epstein as purely professional. He had worked at JPMorgan for more than 30 years until he left in 2013.
The two men exchanged 1,200 emails from Staley’s JPMorgan account, with messages containing unexplained references to female Disney characters and descriptions of Staley “in the hot tub with a glass of white wine”, according to court filings.
After Epstein’s relationship with JPMorgan was terminated in 2013, he became a client of Deutsche Bank, which earlier this year paid $75mn to settle a lawsuit brought by an unnamed Epstein accuser on behalf of dozens of women.