U.S. Virgin Islands Seeks $190 Million From JPMorgan in Epstein Lawsuit

In a court filing on Friday, the U.S. Virgin Islands government said JPMorgan Chase & Co. failed to discover and report sex trafficking practices committed by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein on U.S. territory. It said it is seeking a fine of at least $190 million from the bank. .

Virgin Islands lawyers responded to a request from a federal judge in Manhattan overseeing a lawsuit filed against JP Morgan last year to file a lawsuit that said the bank had turned a blind eye to Mr. Epstein’s activities. disclosed this amount.

The office of the Virgin Islands Attorney General said in a filing that it is also asking the country’s largest bank to implement new policies to block its funding. Financial services for traffickers.

“We are pursuing this enforcement action because the systemic failure of JPMorgan Chase enabled the sex trafficking of Jeffrey Epstein,” U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Ariel Smith said in a statement. .

“This document does not reflect the nature of the settlement negotiations,” said Patricia Wexler, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan. She also said the Virgin Islands legal doctrine “does not have sufficient foundation and has been challenged by JPM in court.”

In court documents, the bank alleges that the Virgin Islands government did little to stop Mr. Epstein’s illegal activities at his private residence off the coast of St. Thomas.

JPMorgan Chase has already agreed to pay $290 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed last year on behalf of many of Epstein’s sexual abuse victims. The lawsuit, filed by lawyers on behalf of Epstein’s victims, was consolidated with a lawsuit filed by the Virgin Islands for legal discovery purposes. The bank and the Virgin Islands government have yet to reach a settlement.

The lawsuit filed by the Virgin Islands is tentatively scheduled for trial in federal court in Manhattan in October.

The Virgin Islands said on Friday that the lawsuit is being taken as an enforcement action against the bank, which is entitled to compensation and substantial relief to stop the bank from taking further action. The $190 million includes reversal of fines and business fees that the Virgin Islands allege Epstein directed JPMorgan to do.

Last year, the US Territory reached a $105 million settlement with the estate of Epstein, who committed suicide in August 2019 while in federal custody on sex trafficking charges.

Lawyers for Epstein victims say at least 200 women, many of whom were teenagers at the time, were sexually abused by investors at Epstein’s private residence in the Virgin Islands and homes in Manhattan, Florida. rice field. Epstein has maintained a private residence on an island just off the coast of St. Thomas for nearly two decades and also ran an investment advisory business in the Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands is assisted by counsel from South Carolina-based plaintiff law firm Motley Rice in all cases involving Epstein. Motley has an agreement with the Virgin Islands Government that entitles it to receive a portion of any settlement and recovery proceeds as compensation.

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