Banking giant JP Morgan has reached a settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands over a lawsuit alleging the company helped facilitate the illicit sex trafficking network of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
JP Morgan, the largest bank in America, has agreed to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The settlement fell far short of the $190 million prosecutors sought. The majority of the settlement ($55 million) will fund local charities and organizations that assist trafficking victims. The other $20 million will cover legal fees.
The settlement does not include an admission of guilt or wrongdoing, though a spokesperson for the bank said it regrets any association with Epstein and “would never have continued doing business with him if it believed he was using the bank in any way to commit heinous crimes.”
Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith called the settlement “an historic victory for survivors and for state enforcement, and it should sound the alarm on Wall Street about banks’ responsibilities under the law to detect and prevent human trafficking.”
She added, “We are proud to have stood alongside the survivors throughout this litigation, and this settlement reflects our continued commitment to them. With this constructive resolution of this groundbreaking litigation, we look forward to helping our community move forward and to building a new relationship with JPMorgan.”
Prosecutors filed the lawsuit against JP Morgan last December, stating in court documents that the company “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.”
Denise George, the former U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General who filed the lawsuit, concluded the bank had culpability after investigators conducted interviews and reviewed internal bank documents showing, as prosecutors allege, JP Morgan employees “had actual knowledge that they were facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse and sex-trafficking conspiracy” for years.
George was fired within days after suing JP Morgan.
“We are pleased that the USVI will use settlement proceeds to enhance the infrastructure and capabilities of their law enforcement to prevent and combat human trafficking and other crimes in their territories,” the company spokesperson continued in the statement.
In June, JP Morgan agreed to settle a similar case for $290 million. That lawsuit was filed by Epstein survivors. As part of that agreement, the company also did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The megabank has also reached a settlement with former executive Jes Staley, who headed JP Morgan’s private banking division. The company sued to make him liable for penalties it could face in the multiple lawsuits over keeping Epstein on as a client.