As Pressure of USVI Lawsuit Against JPMorgan Intensifies, Bank Sues Former Executive Over Jeffrey Epstein Ties

  • Janeka Simon and Ernice Gilbert
  • March 09, 2023

Jes Staley, left, developed a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (right) when Staley ran JPMorgan’s asset-management unit. By. BLOOMBERG NEWS/TOWN & COUNTRY MAGAZINE

JP Morgan is suing a former executive over alleged ties to deceased sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein, a move tied to the USVI's decision to sue JPMorgan on accusations that the financial institution facilitated the convicted sex offender’s abuse of women and girls. 

The bank is defending itself from the lawsuit filed by the V.I. Dept. of Justice, accusing it of turning a blind eye to Epstein’s shady dealings while facilitating his business transactions. Now, JP Morgan is accusing Jes Staley of culpability in the matter.

JPMorgan wants the court to find Mr. Staley personally liable for any damages it may be required to pay in the U.S.V.I lawsuit and in another suit filed by a woman who claims that she was abused by Epstein. JP Morgan’s action against Staley also seeks to compel the former banking executive to pay back the remuneration he earned from his employer, during the time Mr. Staley was allegedly aware of Epstein’s abuses. The lawsuit alleges Staley even “personally observed” some of these depredations.

“In light of Staley’s intentional and outrageous conduct in failing to disclose pertinent information and abandoning (JPMorgan’s) interests in favor of his own and Epstein’s personal interests, (the bank) is entitled to punitive damages,” the bank’s lawyers argue in the suit.

Previously, it was discovered that Mr. Staley and Epstein had exchanged hundreds of messages, both email and texts, in which a close personal relationship was established. Staley, who left JP Morgan in 2013 to run Barclays PLC as its chief executive officer, resigned from Barclays in 2021 after a probe by British regulators over his close association with Jeffery Epstein.

The emails between the two men showed a close bond, according to court papers (via WSJ), and included what the U.S. Virgin Islands has said were photos of young women in seductive poses.

JPMorgan said in court that Mr. Staley had “affirmatively misrepresented the true facts of his and Epstein’s personal interactions." It added that he "repeatedly provided misleading information” about Epstein’s conduct and character.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman said Wednesday that "the plaintiffs have made troubling allegations concerning the conduct of our former employee Jes Staley, and if true he should be held responsible for his actions. If these allegations against Staley are true, he violated this duty by putting his own personal interests ahead of the company’s.”

The V.I. Dept. of Justice, under the leadership of former attorney general Denise George, filed the lawsuit against JPMorgan in December, which has triggered these latest developments. In its suit, the USVI alleges that Mr. Staley showed support for Epstein as a JPMorgan client when internal compliance officers raised questions. Court documents further state that the bank's compliance team sought reassurances repeatedly from Mr. Staley after Epstein was first indicted on sex-crime charges

The bank’s compliance team repeatedly asked for reassurances after Epstein was first indicted in 2006 on sex-crime charges in 2006, court documents allege. The reassurances were sought again when Epstein pleaded guilty to those charges in 2008, and in following years when news reports of such behavior continued to materialize.

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