Special to CosmicTribune.com, April 23, 2023
JPMorgan Chase & Co. waited five years to drop Jeffrey Epstein’s account after his 2008 conviction on soliciting a minor for prostitution and, despite repeated warnings from the bank’s own employees, continued to treat him like a “star client,” a report said.
Even after it closed his accounts, JPMorgan bankers continued to meet with Epstein for years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Citing “people familiar” with the bank’s relationship with Epstein, the Journal noted that three JPMorgan bankers met with Epstein at his New York City townhouse on several occasions:
• Mary Erdoes, a top lieutenant to Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, made two trips to Epstein’s townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in 2011 and 2013, when Epstein still was a client of the bank, said the people familiar with the matter. She exchanged dozens of emails with him and discussed sharing with him fees related to a charitable fund the bank was considering launching.
• John Duffy, who ran JPMorgan’s U.S. private bank for the ultrarich, went to Epstein’s townhouse for a meeting in April 2013, the people said. One month later, the private bank renewed an authorization allowing Epstein to borrow money against his accounts despite repeated warnings from compliance staffers about his unusual banking practices.
• Justin Nelson, one of Epstein’s bankers at JPMorgan, had about a half-dozen meetings at Epstein’s townhouse between 2014 and 2017, the people said. He also traveled to Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico in 2016.
Jes Staley, who ran the private bank that caters to JPMorgan’s wealthiest clients, reportedly gained a close bond with Epstein.
In November 2009, Staley visited Epstein’s private island at Little St. James. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine,” Staley emailed Epstein, according to one of two lawsuits filed against the bank. “This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”
JPMorgan has sued Staley, accusing him of misleading the bank about Epstein’s character and conduct. Staley’s lawyers have said the allegations against him are baseless.
JPMorgan has said it closed Epstein’s accounts in 2013.
“Erdoes has previously said through a JPMorgan spokesman that the only time she remembered meeting Epstein was the day she fired him as a client of JPMorgan’s private bank,” the report noted, adding that Erdoes declined to comment for the article.
Epstein was arrested in 2019, accused of orchestrating a scheme to traffic and sexually abuse girls. He died in 2019 in a New York jail of what the city’s medical examiner said was a suicide.
The bank has denied knowing about Epstein’s crimes.
A JPMorgan spokesman told the Journal that the level of interaction with Epstein wasn’t atypical for a client of a private bank. Any meeting held with Epstein after 2013, the spokesman said, was regarding other JPMorgan bank clients whom Epstein represented.
The bank’s ties to Epstein have gotten renewed attention after two lawsuits were filed against it late last year in federal court in Manhattan. The lawsuits, brought by a woman who has accused Epstein of sexual abuse and by the U.S. Virgin Islands — home to Epstein’s private island getaway — allege that the bank moved the money that was used to pay off his purported victims.
JPMorgan said it isn’t liable for Epstein’s crimes. Through a spokeswoman, lawyers for the Virgin Islands and the Epstein accuser said the public filings in the lawsuits speak for themselves.
Epstein was first indicted for sex crimes in 2006. That year, according to the Virgin Islands lawsuit, JPMorgan executives and compliance staffers began writing emails and memos sharing press reports about Epstein and discussing what to do with his accounts, classifying them as “high risk.” A compliance team pointed out that Epstein routinely made large cash withdrawals, up to $80,000 at a time and more than $750,000 a year, according to the lawsuit.
Erodes said in a deposition for the lawsuits that JPMorgan executives were aware that Epstein had been accused of using cash to pay for girls to come to his house.