(New York) The American bank JPMorgan Chase will pay 290 million dollars to alleged victims of the deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein, accused of sexual exploitation of minors, under an agreement announced Monday which avoids him a media trial.
The sum, initially reported by the Wall Street Journal, was confirmed to AFP by one of the victims’ lawyers, David Boies.
“The parties believe that this agreement (which has yet to be validated by a judge) is in the best interests of all, in particular the victims who survived the terrible abuses of Mr. Epstein,” said a joint statement to the bank and the companies. alleged victims.
The action initiated in 2022 by a woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, accused JPMorgan Chase of having facilitated the actions of Jeffrey Epstein by allowing him to finance his activities. Charges denied by the bank.
The financier, whose origin of fortune is opaque, was a client of JPMorgan Chase between 1998 and 2013, before the establishment finally decided to break their commercial relationship.
Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in prison in 2008 for leading young girls into prostitution in Florida, according to a secret agreement with a prosecutor allowing him to escape federal prosecution.
But in 2019, the federal prosecutor of Manhattan had ignored this market and had charged the sexagenarian for similar facts.
Jeffrey Epstein was accused of having organized, for several years, a network made up of dozens of young girls, mostly minors, paid to have sex with him in his many properties.
This former teacher committed suicide in detention a few weeks later, before being tried. The daughter of British media magnate Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced in June 2022 to 20 years in prison for collaborating in this system of sexual exploitation.
The financial agreement announced Monday comes after a first transaction, mid-May for an amount of 75 million dollars, between Deutsche Bank and victims. They claimed that the German establishment had allowed the alleged sexual predator to remain active thanks to the financial services it had provided to him from 2013.
“These agreements are historic and will change the lives of survivors,” said Sigrid McCawley, one of the lawyers for the alleged victims. “Money that has, for far too long, flowed between Jeffrey Epstein’s prostitution ring and major Wall Street banks, is now being put to good use. »
According to the lawyer, these decisions “signal that financial institutions have an important role to play in identifying and stopping sex trafficking”.
This amicable resolution avoids the bank a civil lawsuit which would have probably occupied the media scene and associated, rightly or wrongly, JPMorgan Chase with the image of Jeffrey Epstein.
The announcement was made the day of Federal Judge Jed Rakoff’s ruling, which allowed the lawsuit to be classified as a class action, or class action, meaning it would have been open to all victims alleged Jeffrey Epstein.
The case had even reached the emblematic CEO of the bank, Jamie Dimon, who was heard at length in May as a witness, even if he is not implicated in the file.
Lawyers for the alleged victim had requested that the boss be auditioned again.
A former JPMorgan Chase executive, James “Jes” Staley, is at the center of the bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, with whom he was friends.
This former boss of the group’s private banking activities (intended for wealthy and institutional clients), who left the bank in 2013, claimed to have mentioned Jeffrey Epstein with Jamie Dimon, which the latter denies. JPMorgan Chase sued him in civil court.
“Any association with him (Epstein) was a mistake and we regret that,” the bank said in a statement provided to AFP. “We never would have continued our relationship with him if we thought he was using our bank to facilitate heinous crimes. »
JPMorgan remains the target of a lawsuit from the US Virgin Islands government, which also accuses the establishment of providing Jeffrey Epstein with banking services that allowed him to maintain his prostitution network.
Reminder of the key stages of the Jeffrey Epstein case, after the agreement announced Monday between the American bank JPMorgan Chase and victims of the deceased financier, accused of sexual exploitation of minors.
On July 6, 2019, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in the United States. The 66-year-old financier was charged two days later with sexual exploitation of minors and criminal association, punishable by a total of 45 years in prison.
He is accused of having, between 2002 and 2005 at least, brought underage girls to his residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach (Florida) “to engage in sexual acts with him, after which he gave them hundreds of dollars in liquid “.
Already accused more than ten years earlier in Florida of using the services of underage prostitutes, Mr. Epstein was sentenced in 2008 to a modified prison term of 13 months, according to a secret agreement made with a prosecutor allowing him to escape from federal prosecutions.
On August 10, Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged in his cell. The procedure aimed at him ends de facto.
The autopsy confirms suicide by hanging.
Alerted to the potential existence of French victims of the financier, owner of an apartment in Paris, the French justice opened an investigation on August 23, 2019 for “rape” and “sexual assault”, in particular on minors.
Searches are carried out within the modeling agency Karin Models, founded by a former close friend of Epstein, Jean-Luc Brunel, suspected of having played a role of tout.
Close to Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew “categorically” denies, on November 17, 2019 in an interview with British television, the accusations of sexual assault by an American, Virginia Giuffre, who was then a minor.
On the 20th, he put an “end to his public engagements”.
On July 2, 2020, Ghislaine Maxwell, the ex-girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein accused by several alleged victims of the latter of having helped to recruit them, was arrested in the United States, charged with trafficking in minors and placed in detention.
On December 17, Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested near Paris. He was indicted the next day for “rape of a minor over the age of 15” and “sexual harassment” and placed in pre-trial detention. He will be indicted again six months later.
The investment company Apollo Global Management announced in March 2021 the departure of its boss Leon Black, who had business ties with Jeffrey Epstein.
The British bank Barclays will announce in November the departure of its boss Jes Staley, targeted by an investigation by the financial authorities on his links with Jeffrey Epstein.
In August 2021, Prince Andrew’s accuser filed a civil complaint in New York.
On January 12, 2022, the American justice refuses to close the complaint.
Three days later, Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers announced an amicable agreement, for a confidential amount, but estimated by the British press at more than 14 million euros.
In March, the lawsuit in New York against the prince will be officially dropped.
Former modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel was found dead hanged in his prison cell in Paris on the night of February 18 to 19, 2022.
Convicted in December 2021 of five counts of sex crimes, including the trafficking of minors, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced on June 28, 2022 to 20 years in prison. She calls.
Accused by victims of having facilitated the actions of Jeffrey Epstein by allowing him to finance his activities, two banks announced financial agreements in the spring of 2023: