Virgin Islands demanding $190 million from JPMorgan Chase in case involving Jeffrey Epstein
By JD Heyes // Aug 14, 2023

In a court filing on Friday, the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands revealed its intent to pursue damages of at least $190 million from JPMorgan Chase in a lawsuit that alleges the bank aided in facilitating sex trafficking through its former client, Jeffrey Epstein.

The lawsuit implicates the bank for its alleged involvement with Epstein, who was a long-time customer of JPMorgan Chase, reported, providing details about the suit.

In addition to seeking damages, the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands expressed its desire for a court order that would compel JPMorgan Chase to implement various measures aimed at safeguarding young women and girls from potential exploitation by future predators, the report stated.

“These sets of recommendations aim to address the same core problem: JPMorgan’s knowledge of and failure to report Epstein’s trafficking because it lacked the economic incentive and motivation to place compliance with the law and prevention of trafficking ahead of its own profits," the filing in  U.S. District Court in Manhattan said, according to the outlet.

The U.S. territory also stated its intention to pursue additional compensatory damages on behalf of the victims of Epstein. This would be separate from the nearly $300 million that JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit filed by one of Epstein's accusers just last month. The court filing, however, did not specify the exact amount sought for these additional damages on behalf of Epstein's victims, noted.

The new filing was submitted in response to Judge Jed Rakoff's request last week, asking the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide specific details about the damages it seeks as the case progresses toward trial, said the outlet.

The lawsuit filed by the Virgin Islands accuses JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, of deriving benefits from Epstein's trafficking of young women who were subjected to abuse by Epstein and others over the 15 years he was a client of the bank.

The complaint asserts that JPMorgan Chase permitted Epstein to maintain substantial sums of money in accounts at the bank, which he utilized to finance his exploitation of women, despite numerous warning signs that were brought to the attention of the bank's employees throughout the years.

JPMorgan Chase, which did not provide an immediate response on Friday, has consistently refuted any allegations of misconduct in relation to the case.

“We are pursuing this enforcement action because JPMorgan Chase’s institutional failure enabled Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking, and JPMorgan Chase must make significant changes to detect, report and stop human trafficking,” U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith noted in a statement on Friday.

“Financial penalties, as well as conduct changes, are important to make sure that JPMorgan Chase knows the cost of putting its own profits ahead of public safety,” added Smith.

The AG noted further if the Virgin Islands wins its suit, it will use any monetary damages it receives “to support efforts to strengthen, inform, and expand local law enforcement and enhance the Virgin Islands’ services for victims of human trafficking and other victims of crime.”

According to the filing, the U.S. Virgin Islands is seeking a minimum of $150 million in civil penalties as a separate component of the case. The filing further requests that JPMorgan Chase disgorge an additional amount of at least $40 million in fees earned from Epstein's financial transactions. These fees include those generated by Epstein himself as well as those received from other "ultra-high net worth clients" that Epstein referred to the bank.

"Those clients, the filing said, included Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Lex Wexner, the founder of Limited Brands, and the billionaire Glenn Dubin," noted further.

Besides the monetary damages, the Virgin Islands also is asking JPMorgan be compelled “to implement new policies, including separating its business and compliance functions and designating an independent compliance consultant, to prevent human trafficking,” according to a press release from Smith's office.

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