NEW YORK (Reuters) – The US Virgin Islands revealed new allegations against JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s ties to former client Jeffrey Epstein, including executives discussing how the disgraced late financier surrounded himself with “nymphettes.”
JPMorgan countered that the U.S. Virgin Islands were also responsible for allowing Epstein’s sexual abuse of young women and teenage girls, saying the territory used its powers to facilitate these crimes.
The bank accused the territory of facilitating visas that allowed Epstein to victimize, and of “looking the other way” whenever Epstein arrived at local airports accompanied by young women and girls.
Both allegations were leveled during Monday night duels in Manhattan federal court.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is suing JPMorgan for at least $190 million because the bank ignored red flags about Epstein for being a wealthy and lucrative client from 1998 to 2013.
Ahead of a scheduled trial on Oct. 23, the U.S. Virgin Islands wants a judge to declare that JPMorgan participated in Epstein’s sex trafficking business and obstructed law enforcement.
The filed documents contain many new details about the New York-based bank’s alleged conduct, including more than $25 million in payments to Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell and hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Epstein’s victims.
They also cited a September 2012 email from a senior JPMorgan executive to Mary Erdoes, now the bank’s head of wealth and wealth management, comparing another client’s home to Epstein’s.
“Reminded me of JE’s house, except it was more tasteful and less nymphette,” the director wrote. “More like the Frick [museum]. Art was great.”
“Wow,” Erdoes replied.
JPMorgan, on the other hand, wants the judge to rule that the U.S. Virgin Islands should not solicit monetary assistance and dismiss the territory’s claim that the bank obstructed law enforcement.
The bank has already slammed the U.S. Virgin Islands for having a cozy relationship with Epstein, where top officials gave him tax breaks and waived sex offender monitoring requirements in exchange for cash and gifts.
Epstein owned two private islands within the territory and allegedly bought the second to prevent people from spying on his sexual abuses on the first.
The US Virgin Islands has already received more than $105 million from Epstein’s estate and has settled with billionaire Leon Black, a former friend of Epstein’s.
JPMorgan last month agreed to pay $290 million to settle a separate lawsuit by dozens of Epstein accusers.
Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 in a Manhattan prison while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.
The case is U.S. Virgin Islands v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10904.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Stephen Coates)