JPMorgan Chase has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the Wall Street giant of having facilitated financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking enterprise.
The tentative settlement would resolve a suit that was filed in federal court last year by a woman identified as “Jane Doe 1,” who claimed the bank turned a “blind eye” toward Epstein’s conduct. The suit also alleged it didn’t comply with federal laws for years while it provided services to him and benefited from his business.
One of the lead attorneys for the victims, David Boies, the chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner, said the bank agreed to pay $290 million to settle the lawsuit.
JPMorgan Chase and the victims’ lawyers said in a joint statement: "The parties in Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. have informed the Court that they have reached an agreement in principle to settle the putative class action lawsuit related to Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes, which is subject to court approval.
“The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, especially the survivors who were the victims of Epstein’s terrible abuse,” they said.
The unnamed woman sued on behalf of a "large number" of Epstein victims. The judge overseeing the case ruled Monday morning that it could move forward as a class-action lawsuit.
“Any association with him was a mistake and we regret it. We would never have continued to do business with him if we believed he was using our bank in any way to help commit heinous crimes,” JPMorgan Chase said in a separate statement.
Epstein was a JPMorgan Chase client for 15 years until the bank severed ties with him in 2013.
In 2008, Epstein was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution. He died by suicide in 2019 at a New York City correctional center where he was being held on federal sex-trafficking charges.
“The settlements that have been reached are both life-changing and historic for the survivors," said the victims’ attorney Sigrid McCawley, the managing partner at Boies Schiller Flexner. "Money, which for far too long flowed with impunity between Jeffrey Epstein’s global sex trafficking enterprise and Wall Street’s leading banks, is decisively being used for good."
She added, "The settlements signal that financial institutions have an important role to play in spotting and shutting down sex trafficking.”
The head of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, said in a deposition last month that he never met Epstein and had never even heard of him until his arrest in 2019.
JPMorgan Chase faces a similar lawsuit in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a residence. The lawsuit, which is set to go to trial in October, seeks monetary damages.
JPMorgan Chase has denied liability.
Brad Edwards, another attorney for the victims, said that “the information and support the U.S. Virgin Islands and its legal team provided to the survivors was enormously valuable, and we recognize the importance of the government’s continued litigation against JPMorgan Chase to prevent future crimes.”
The spokesman for the Virgin Islands attorney general said officials there were “gratified to hear about the settlement,” adding that the territory “will continue to proceed with its enforcement action to ensure full accountability for JPMorgan’s violations of law and prevent the bank from assisting and profiting from human trafficking in the future.”
The bank is also litigating its own case against former JPMorgan Chase executive Jes Staley. It sued Staley in March, saying he should be held liable for any financial penalties it faces from the lawsuits accusing it of having enabled Epstein’s conduct.