JPMorgan and the US Virgin Islands are blaming each other in court for failing to stop Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking scheme
The US Virgin Islands is suing JPMorgan for facilitating Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking scheme.
But the bank says the territory should have stopped Epstein with its law enforcement powers.
The Virgin Islands gave tax breaks to Epstein's businesses, the bank said.
Attorneys for JPMorgan lashed out at the US Virgin Islands in a court filing on Wednesday night, alleging the territory "did nothing to stop" Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking operation and is merely deflecting blame by suing the bank for facilitating the now-dead pedophile's scheme.
"USVI's lawsuit is a masterclass in deflection that seeks to hold JPMC responsible for not sleuthing out Epstein's crimes over a decade ago," attorneys for JPMorgan wrote in the filing. "Yet USVI had access at the time to the same information, allegations, and rumors about Epstein on which it alleges JPMC should have acted."
The finger-pointing comes in response to a lawsuit the US Virgin Islands attorney general filed against JPMorgan in December, in a Manhattan federal court.
The lawsuit alleged the bank facilitated "knowingly facilitated, sustained, and concealed the human trafficking network operated by Jeffrey Epstein" and turned a "blind eye" to red flags on his bank accounts because it "financially benefitted from this participation."
"JPMorgan knowingly, negligently, and unlawfully provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid and was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise," the lawsuit said.
Numerous women have accused Epstein of flying them to his vast estate in the US Virgin Islands and raping them there. Epstein, who plead guilty to charges that designated him as a pedophile in 2007, died in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges in New York. JPMorgan says it cut ties with Epstein in 2013.
Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted at trial in 2021 for trafficking girls to Epstein for sex and sexually abusing some of them herself. At her criminal trial, a JPMorgan official presented documents showing that Epstein gave Maxwell at least $30.7 million between 1999 and 2007. Maxwell is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.
US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan fired then-Attorney General Denise George after the lawsuit against JPMorgan was filed in December. According to the New York Times, Bryan was upset George didn't sufficiently give him a heads up about the investigation and lawsuit against JPMorgan. Attorneys general aren't typically required to inform governors about lawsuits they plan to file.
In court filings Wednesday asking a judge to dismiss the US Virgin Islands lawsuit, JPMorgan said the US territory got greedy after already reaching a settlement with Epstein's estate last year.
"Having sought and obtained more than $100 million from Jeffrey Epstein's estate and businesses for damages caused by his sex-trafficking crimes, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) now casts farther afield for deeper pockets," lawyers for JPMorgan wrote.
If anything, JPMorgan claims, the Virgin Islands attorney general's office was in an even better position to stop Epstein's trafficking scheme given its powers as a law enforcement agency.
"USVI did nothing to stop Epstein during this period, notwithstanding the fact that he registered with the USVI as a Tier 1 sex offender," JPMorgan's attorneys wrote.
In fact, JPMorgan says, the Virgin Islands government "granted Epstein and his businesses lucrative privileges and massive tax incentives."
The Virgin Islands Economic Development Commission (EDC) granted one of Epstein's companies, the Southern Trust Company (STC), massive tax exemptions and other economic incentives from February 1, 2013 through January 31, 2023, purportedly for consulting services, — even though STC was instead allegedly funding Epstein's sex trafficking," JPMorgan's attorneys wrote.
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