JPMorgan Attempts to Disavow Responsibility for Protracted Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein

In a deposition, a bank official said that once James Staley, Mr. Epstein’s major supporter at JPMorgan, resigned, the company severed connections with him. In the extensive case, there were dozens of depositions.

A top executive at the country’s largest lender claimed in a deposition taken in connection with two lawsuits stemming from the institution’s nearly 15-year business partnership with the disgraced financier that JPMorgan Chase’s decision to stop doing business with him became simpler after there was no one at the bank to advocate for him.

The head of JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management business, Mary Erdoes, stated in a March deposition that she chose to dispense with Mr. Epstein as a customer in the summer of 2013 due to worries over frequent big cash withdrawals from his several accounts with the bank.

She said that several months after James E. Staley, a prominent JPMorgan private banker and Mr. Epstein’s major supporter, departed the company in January 2013, an annual review of Mr. Epstein’s accounts was conducted.

Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender after entering a guilty plea to obtaining a minor’s prostitution in Florida in 2008, was described as a “high risk client” by Ms. Erdoes. She said she was unaware of Mr. Epstein’s classification at the time.

Mr. Staley served as Mr. Epstein’s senior relationship manager and champion within the bank, according to Ms. Erdoes. I was leaving Mr. Epstein because no one was present to speak up for him or the circumstances I saw.

Nearly four years after Mr. Epstein committed suicide while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges and ten years after JPMorgan ended its business relationships with him, the question of what executives at the country’s largest bank knew about Mr. Epstein’s abuse of numerous teenage girls and young women is crucial to the lawsuits that the bank is facing.

The two lawsuits allege that JPMorgan disregarded numerous warnings that Mr. Epstein was using funds in his numerous accounts at the bank to finance illegal sexual activity at his residences in New York, Florida, and the Virgin Islands. One lawsuit was brought by attorneys for Mr. Epstein’s victims, and the other was brought by the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to the claims, JPMorgan kept Mr. Epstein as a customer even after he was declared a registered sex offender because he was generating revenue for the institution.

At JPMorgan, there is also a blame game going on. Some claim that Mr. Staley should have known about Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking at the time and that it was his responsibility to inform others. In an effort to make Mr. Staley accountable for whatever damages JPMorgan may be required to pay, the bank has designated him as a third-party defendant in the litigation.

Mr. Staley, whose deposition is set for as soon as next week, has claimed in court documents that he did nothing improper or unlawful. Requests for comments from his attorneys were not answered.

The top executive of Barclays, Mr. Staley, better known as “Jes” on Wall Street, was forced to step down in 2021 after British authorities looked into how he had described his previous connection with Mr. Epstein.

JPMorgan has consistently denied having any knowledge of Mr. Epstein’s sexual offenses. The bank stated in a statement that while “in hindsight, any association with him was a mistake and we regret it, we did not help him commit his heinous crimes,” they did not assist Mr. Epstein.

According to Ms. Erdoes and other JPMorgan employees, for a while, “they were fully aware of Epstein’s large cash withdrawals and Epstein’s sex trafficking,” according to David Boies, an attorney for the victims suing the bank.
Mary Erdoes motions with her right hand while sporting pearl earrings.
Head of JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management business, Mary Erdoes. She said in a March deposition that she fired Jeffrey Epstein as a customer in 2013 due to worries over frequent, sizable cash transfers from his accounts.Credit…Associated Press/Mark Lennihan
Mary Erdoes motions with her right hand while sporting pearl earrings.

Numerous depositions have already been taken as part of the action, and Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan expedited them. JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, gave several hours of testimony during a deposition on Friday at the bank’s Manhattan headquarters.

How much of Mr. Dimon’s deposition can be made public has been a topic of discussion among attorneys. In a statement released by the bank on Friday, it was said that Mr. Dimon had never spoken to or corresponded through email with Mr. Epstein, did not recall ever hearing about his accounts “internally,” and was not engaged in any decisions pertaining to his account.

Because Mr. Staley, who eventually oversaw the bank’s investment bank, reported to Mr. Dimon directly, his testimony might be quite important.

Ms. Erdoes asserted in her deposition—parts of which were previously published by The Washington Post—that she thought Mr. Staley had reported to Mr. Dimon directly beginning in 2006 and continuing until he departed the bank. She said that Ms. Erdoes had reported to Mr. Dimon directly since 2009, and Mr. Staley before that.

Ms. Erdoes stated in her statement that although she was unaware of the circumstances behind Mr. Staley’s departure from the bank, she believed “it was a mutual decision.”

Ms. Erodes said in her deposition that she visited Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan residence in the summer of 2013 and personally notified him that she was terminating their working relationship. Only her second in-person encounter with him, according to her, it was.

Ms. Erdoes expressed dissatisfaction with Mr. Epstein’s justification that significant cash withdrawals were only related to his plane trips. However, Ms. Erdoes responded that she was unsure of what Mr. Epstein did with the money when the victim’s attorneys questioned her about whether the withdrawals may have been for payments to “women and girls.”

Ms. Erdoes said that she was “not privy to those discussions” when asked why Mr. Epstein’s prior termination had not resulted from comparable cash withdrawals.
Jamie Dimon is dressed in a suit jacket and an unbuttoned light blue collared shirt as he stands in front of a wall that has the words “Chase Business” on it.

Jamie Dimon is the JPMorgan Chase CEO. On Friday, he gave a lengthy deposition in respect to two cases involving the bank’s 15-year partnership with Jeffrey Epstein.Credit…Reuters/Marco Bello

Jamie Dimon is dressed in a suit jacket and an unbuttoned light blue collared shirt as he stands in front of a wall that has the words “Chase Business” on it.

According to a court document used in the dispute, the bank had been alerted for years by Mr. Epstein’s activities. Several bank employees were engaged in deciding whether suspicious activity reports, or SARs, should be submitted regarding some of Mr. Epstein’s transactions from 2000 to 2019, according to the court filing, which JPMorgan first released publicly but is now under seal.

There were no specifics about the transactions in the paper. In order to notify American regulators of potential money laundering, fraud, or other unlawful activities, banks submit SARs to them.

The same document stated that the bank’s board met twice in the fall of 2019 to talk about “Epstein-related issues.” The meetings, which took place soon after Mr. Epstein’s passing, were not mentioned in the record. The memo stated that, during the course of the bank’s 15-year commercial relationship with Mr. Epstein, the board never convened to discuss such interactions.

The board meetings coincided with news stories being published by many publications, including The Times, about the bank’s association with Mr. Epstein and his close friendship with Mr. Staley.

The case filed on behalf of Mr. Epstein’s victims is up for consideration by Judge Rakoff, who is presiding over both lawsuits. Due to their position, far over 100 women may benefit from any settlement with the bank.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys and Deutsche Bank have already negotiated a tentative $75 million class action settlement. After JPMorgan dropped Mr. Epstein as a customer in 2013, Deutsche Bank served as Mr. Epstein’s main bank. Late in 2018, Mr. Epstein and Deutsche Bank parted ways.

Ms. Erdoes said in her deposition that she had “no recollection of any conversation with anyone at Deutsche Bank about Mr. Epstein” or JPMorgan’s decision to discontinue doing business with him.

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