JPMorgan Chase is facing a lawsuit from the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which claims that the investment bank turned a “blind eye” to child sex predator Jeffrey Epstein.
The disgraced hedge fund manager owned Little St. James, a part of the island system considered a territory of the United States, where he may have hosted a number of high-profile lawmakers and business leaders. JPMorgan allegedly concealed transactions that raised suspicion of the sex trafficking enterprise, according to the lawsuit, which was obtained by The New York Times and Bloomberg.
“JPMorgan knowingly, negligently and unlawfully provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid and was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise,” the lawsuit said.
The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York by U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George, asserts that JPMorgan Chase should have uncovered the transactions due to compliance requirements for laws against money laundering. Representatives for the investment bank refused to comment when contacted by the outlets.
JPMorgan provided investment banking services to the financier for roughly 15 years, according to The New York Times, even after he pleaded guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl in 2008. The lawsuit contended that the bank’s failure to sever ties with Epstein enabled his behavior in subsequent years.
Epstein purchased Little St. James in 1998 and owned the property until his apparent suicide in 2019. The island has allegedly hosted former President Bill Clinton and British Prince Andrew, while a pilot who formerly worked for Epstein previously testified that he had seen the two individuals, as well as former President Donald Trump, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and actor Kevin Spacey, on the deceased predator’s aircraft.
Two anonymous women who were allegedly trafficked by Epstein filed suit against JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank last month, claiming that the companies had benefited financially from the abuse. “Without the financial institution’s participation, Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme could not have existed,” the lawsuit said, according to a report from CNN.
The new complaint also occurs one month after managers of the Epstein estate agreed to settle a lawsuit with the U.S. Virgin Islands over law enforcement actions related to the territory’s laws against fraud, sex trafficking, and child exploitation. The estate agreed to pay $105 million and half of the proceeds earned from selling Little St. James, which acquired nicknames such as “Pedophile Island” after the financier’s death, as well as $450,000 to remediate environmental damage around Great St. James, another island owned by Epstein.
“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. We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking,” George said in a press release. “Through this lawsuit and settlement, the Attorney General’s Office, acting on behalf of the Government, is using its authority to enforce the laws of the Virgin Islands against criminal enterprises and to protect public safety.”
Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime companion of Epstein, was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year on multiple conspiracy and sex trafficking charges for aiding Epstein with recruiting and grooming young girls. According to a federal indictment, Maxwell was accused of “normalizing” the abuse by undressing in front of a victim, discussing sexual topics with other victims, and prompting them to give “sexualized massages” to Epstein. She allegedly tried to befriend victims by taking them on shopping excursions and asking about their lives.