On December 27, 2022, the Office of the Attorney General of the United States Virgin Islands sued JP Morgan Chase Bank alleging that the bank acted to facilitate Jeffery Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme. The suit alleges that JP Morgan concealed and financially benefited from Epstein’s human trafficking operation. Regarding Epstein’s illegal activities, the suit alleges that the bank acted despite numerous internal and external legal concerns. Despite these warnings, the bank continued to approve at least twenty payments during Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.
As previously reported, Epstein was awaiting trial on federal trafficking charges, which remain unresolved resulting from his suicide. Epstein was accused of allegedly operating a sex trafficking ring in Manhattan and Palm Beach from 2002 to 2005 and allegedly paying minors for sex. Since his death, his victims have filed numerous lawsuits against his estate. Furthermore, in June of 2022, Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of Epstein, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in aiding Epstein’s sexual abuse of minors.
The Federal suit, filed the Southern District of New York, alleges that a former senior executive of JP Morgan and Barclays, Jes Staley, “may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.” Staley and Epstein exchanged thousands of emails, which included photos of young women in various poses and discussion of trips to Epstein’s private island. Twice, Staley allegedly visited Epstein at his private island. Staley was also alleged to have visited other Epstein properties in both London and Palm Beach. This allegation is corroborated by a victim who stated that Staley “personally observed” Epstein abuse others.
Despite this, JP Morgan allegedly allowed Staley to remain in charge of Epstein’s accounts. In this role, Staley was tasked with addressing concerns about Epstein’s human trafficking allegations. Stalely allegedly used his position to protect Epstein from JP Morgan’s compliance officers concerns. The compliance officers repeatedly raised concerns about Epstein’s criminal behavior. Staley’s protection allegedly only ended in 2013, shortly after he left JP Morgan.
The CSE Institute applauds the efforts of the Office of the Attorney General of the United States Virgin Islands in their pursuit to hold financial institutions like JP Morgan accountableAs the complaint states, enforcement actions by law enforcement and prosecutors are essential to target and end human trafficking operations, like Epstein’s.
The CSE Institute will provide more updates on this matter as it proceeds.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.