JPMorgan Chase notified the US Treasury Department of $1bn in transactions related to “human trafficking” made by Jeffrey Epstein after his death in 2019, a lawyer for the US Virgin Islands said at a recent court hearing.
Attorney Mimi Liu told federal court judge Jed Rakoff that the Wall St giant informed the US Government of the vast payouts in an attempt to CYA — or “cover your a**” — over its relationship with Epstein.
“Epstein’s entire business with JPMorgan and JPMorgan’s entire business with Epstein was human trafficking,” Ms Liu said, according to a transcript of the hearing.
“The only reason that JPMorgan after 16 years reported the $1 billion in suspicious transactions was because he was arrested and then he was dead,” she added.
The US Virgin Islands — where Epstein owned two private islands — is suing JPMorgan for at least $190m for for allegedly turning a blind eye to the late financier’s sex-trafficking and abuse of underage girls.
In June, the bank agreed to pay Epstein’s victims $290m for ignoring his sex offending and continuing to do business with until 2013, five years after the late paedohile pleaded guilty to child prostitution charges.
Ms Liu raised the $1bn in payments while arguing the US Virgin Islands should be awarded a summary judgment ahead of a trial scheduled for October.
She told the court that the bank ignored numerous red flags and continued to allow Epstein to bank with them, which earned them hundreds of millions of dollars and referrals to other wealthy clients.
“By 2006, the bank thus had reams of financial information related to Jeffrey Epstein that corroborated his sex crimes involving children,” Ms Liu argued.
Ms Liu drew the judge’s attention to $9m in suspicious cash payments and transfers of a few hundreds dollars each to girls and women, which amounted to “20,000 unlawful sex acts facilitated by JPMorgan.”
For JPMorgan, attorney Felicia Ellsworth told the judge that the Virgin Islands had not produced “a scintilla” of evidence that it had broken any sex trafficking laws.
She argued that the Wall St bank had flagged suspicious payments with the Treasury Department six times dating back to 2002, and they had failed to take action.
In past court filings, the bank has rejected allegations of complicity and attempted to shift blame for Epstein’s crimes onto high ranking officials, claiming that the territory shielded him from accountability while “reaping the benefits of his wealth”.
The case is expected to go to trial on 23 October unless Judge Rakoff awards summary judgment to either party.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial for child sex trafficking in 2019.