In negotiating a $290 million settlement with the victims of billionaire sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, megabank JPMorgan suggested ignorance of Epstein’s activities.
“We all now understand that Epstein’s behaviour was monstrous,” JPMorgan attorneys said in a statement reported by the BBC and other outlets:
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.
The settlement, which has yet to be approved by a court, would draw to a close a suit filed by an anonymous woman on behalf of several women accusing Epstein of sexually abusing them over a 15-year period. According to the New York Times, “the number of victims could potentially rise to more than 100.”
“It could be that the bank doesn’t want this to stay in the press,” Washington and Lee University School of Law professor Carliss Chatman, told Reuters. “At a time Americans are questioning the banking system, associating Chase with human trafficking is not good for business.”
Despite the bank’s claim that it “now” understands Epstein’s behavior, a review of court documents showed that JPMorgan seemingly ignored employee concerns about Epstein, who used its services between 1988 and 2013:
The legal documents revealed that after designating Mr. Epstein a “high risk client” in 2006, the bank kept him on as a customer despite media reports detailing allegations of his sexual abuse of teenage girls and evidence that some of the cash withdrawals were for payments to dozens of young women.
After long-standing speculation about his activities, Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. He was found dead in his jail cell in New York City on August 10 2019.