The former JPMorgan Chase executive and Barclays CEO Jes Staley has alleged that he communicated with JP Morgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, about the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a contradiction of Dimon’s testimony, in a lawsuit brought by the US Virgin Islands against JP Morgan.
In a report on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal said it had obtained legal papers in the case in which Staley claimed that he communicated with Dimon about the bank’s business with Epstein after the disgraced financier was arrested in Florida in 2006 for sexually abusing girls and pleaded guilty to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution two years later.
Staley, who has yet to be deposed under oath, also claimed that Dimon communicated with him about whether to maintain Epstein as a client before he was dropped in 2012.
A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase rejected Staley’s claim. “We believe this is false. There is no evidence that any such communications ever occurred – nothing in the voluminous number of documents reviewed and nothing in the nearly dozen depositions taken, including that of our own CEO,” they told the Journal.
The bank said that during a deposition last Friday, Dimon had repeated his position that he never met with Epstein, “never emailed him, does not recall ever discussing his accounts internally, and was not involved in any decisions about his account”.
“The one person who claims this to be true is currently accused of horrific acts and dishonesty – and hasn’t been deposed,” the bank added, according to the Journal.
The battle between Staley and Dimon is becoming the centerpiece of claims by the US Virgin Islands that JP Morgan profited from its relationship with Epstein even after he was convicted in 2008 and forced to register as a sex offender.
The bank maintained the financier as a client until 2012 and claims that Staley was the main point of contact. In a 2008 email submitted by the Virgin Islands to the court, a JPMorgan employee suggested Dimon would review the Epstein relationship. “I would count Epstein’s assets as a probable outflow for ’08 ($120mm or so?) as I can’t imagine it will stay (pending Dimon review),” it said, according to the Journal.
JP Morgan has said that the lawsuits have no merit and that it did not know about Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking before he was arrested in 2019. Epstein died in custody while awaiting trial.
Last week, the bank hit back at the Virgin Islands, where Epstein maintained a private island home, claiming that the territory’s government is “complicit in the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein”, saying the convicted sex trafficker maintained a “quid pro quo relationship” with some of the territory’s highest officials over two decades.
Separately, JP Morgan also filed a claim against Staley, saying that if USVI proves its claims against the bank he is “solely liable to the USVI, or liable to JPMC for all sums awarded to the USVI and against JPMC, if any, at trial”. The bank is also seeking to claw back more than $80m in compensation Staley received from the bank.
As part of the legal actions, email communications between Staley and Epstein have found their way into the public domain.
The USVI lawsuit claims that the relationship between Staley and Epstein was so close that they “even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation”. JP Morgan has claimed that a “powerful financial executive” accused of sexual assault by a woman suing the bank as a party of the Virgin Islands action was Staley.
Staley’s lawyers have said the allegations against him are baseless and has denied he knew about Epstein’s alleged trafficking. Staley, who left JP Morgan in 2013 to become CEO of Barclays, has also claimed that he is being used as scapegoat by his former employer to cover up its wrongdoing.
The case is not due to come before New York federal Judge Jed Rakoff in court until later this year.
In a statement to the Journal, a JP Morgan spokesman said it regretted its relationship with Epstein. “In hindsight, any association with him was a mistake and we regret it, but these suits are misdirected as we did not help him commit his heinous crimes,” it said.
Source: The Guardian