Legal /

U.S. Virgin Islands Wants $190M From JP Morgan To Settle Epstein Sex Trafficking Case

Prosecutors allege employees at the bank 'knowingly, negligently, and unlawfully' facilitated the illicit human trafficking network

Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands are seeking $190 million in damages from JP Morgan to settle a lawsuit over the bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Prosecutors are seeking at least $150 million in civil penalties, as well as another $40 million the bank received through its relationship with Epstein, according to a July 13 court filing. The U.S. Virgin Islands is seeking compensatory damages to be paid to Epstein’s victims and punitive damages, as attorneys for the U.S. territory say that it can prove “participation by JP Morgan in Epstein’s sex-trafficking venture over more than a decade.”

In a statement to Banking Drive, U.S Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith said, “We are pursuing this enforcement action because JPMorgan Chase’s institutional failure enabled Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking, and JPMorgan Chase must make significant changes to detect, report and stop human trafficking.”

Smith’s office says that they want JP Morgan to implement new policies to stop human trafficking, such as separating the company’s business and compliance functions, as well as designating an independent compliance consultant.

“These sets of recommendations aim to address the same core problem: JPMorgan’s knowledge of and failure to report Epstein’s trafficking because it lacked the economic incentive and motivation to place compliance with the law and prevention of trafficking ahead of its own profits,” the filing states.

The trial is set for Oct. 23, but the filing indicates that the bank appears to be in settlement negotiations.

A spokeswoman for JP Morgan told CNBC that the “document does not reflect the nature of settlement conversations,” and that prosecutors’ “misdirected damages theories” are “not well founded and are being challenged” in court.

The court filing was submitted in response to a judge who wanted the Virgin Islands to detail the damages it’s seeking in the case.

In the original lawsuit filed last December, prosecutors alleged JP Morgan “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 Attorney General’s office also stated in the suit:

JP Morgan and its employees had actual knowledge that they were facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse and sex-trafficking conspiracy to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, and maintain young women and underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts through the means of force, threats of force, fraud, abuse of process, and coercion.

Despite this knowledge, JP Morgan intentionally paid for, concealed, facilitated and participated in Epstein’s and his co-conspirators’ violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a), which JP Morgan knew and was in reckless disregard of the fact that Epstein and his co-conspirators would use its bank accounts and financial transactions to coerce, defraud, and force young women and underage girls to engage in commercial sex acts.

JP Morgan, through its employees and agents and their role in facilitating the financial aspect of Epstein’s enterprise, actively facilitated or participated in the sex-trafficking conspiracy in which Epstein and his co-conspirators led young women and underage girls in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere to believe that they would be rewarded if they cooperated with Epstein and his co-conspirators and acquiesced to their demands.

*For corrections please email [email protected]*