The estate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein agreed Wednesday to pay more than $105 million in settlement claims to the U.S. Virgin Islands after Epstein allegedly ran a sex trafficking operation and caused environmental damage from the property he owned in the territory.
Epstein, who died at a federal jail in New York in August 2019, was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14. Epstein pleaded not guilty before his death.
Denise N. George, the attorney general for the U.S. Virgin Islands, told The New York Times in a statement from the beginning of the case that she met with three “very courageous” young women Epstein allegedly trafficked and sexually exploited on the infamous Little St. James Island.
“Our work has been inspired, humbled and fortified by the strength and courage of all of those who survived Epstein’s abuse,” George said, adding that authorities owe it the victims who were “so profoundly hurt to make changes that would help avoid future victims.”
George, whose office filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against Epstein’s estate in January 2020, settled after a year of negotiations.
Epstein’s estate must now repay more than $80 million in cash for one of his companies receiving tax benefits, which U.S. Virgin Islands officials told The Associated Press Epstein and his co-defendants “fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise.”
Officials also said the Epstein estate must pay half of the proceeds from the 70-acre Little St. James island sale, which real estate professionals have listed for $55 million, and the 160-acre Great St. James island sale for another $55 million, to the Virgin Islands.
Authorities said Epstein had ruins of colonial-era historical structures of slaves removed from Great St. James, which will cost the estate another $450,000 in environmental repairs.
“This settlement restores the faith of the people of the Virgin Islands that its laws will be enforced, without fear or favor, against those who break them,” George told NBC News. “We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking.”
Daniel Weiner, an Epstein estate attorney, told The Associated Press that co-executors deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part.
“The co-executors ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interests of the estate, including its creditors and claimants, to avoid the time, expense and inherent uncertainties of protracted litigation,” Weiner told NBC News. “The settlement is consistent with the co-executors’ stated intent and practice since their appointments to those roles — to resolve claims related to any misconduct by Jeffrey Epstein in a manner sensitive to those who suffered harm.”
Weiner further noted that Epstein’s estate paid more than $121 million to 136 victims through a compensation fund.