NEW YORK - JPMorgan Chase agreed Tuesday to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to settle claims that the bank enabled the sex trafficking acts committed by financier Jeffrey Epstein.
JPMorgan said that $55 million of the settlement will go toward local charities that provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse and trafficking and other crimes, as well as to enhance the capabilities of local law enforcement. Of that amount, $10 million will be used to create a fund to provide mental health services for Epstein’s survivors, according the Virgin Islands Department of Justice.
The Virgin Islands, where Epstein had an estate, sued JPMorgan last year, saying its investigation has revealed that the financial services giant enabled Epstein’s recruiters to pay victims and was "indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise." It had been seeking penalties and disgorgement of at least $190 million, in addition to other damages.
In effect, the Virgin Islands had argued that JPMorgan had been complicit in Epstein's behavior and did not raise any red flags to law enforcement or bank regulators about Epstein being a "high risk" customer and making repeated large cash withdrawals.
The JPMorgan Chase & Co. World headquarters are pictured on April 17, 2019 in New York City. (Credit: Johannes EISELE / AFP)
The settlement averts a trial that had been set to start next month.
The bank also said it reached an confidential legal settlement with James "Jes" Staley, the former top JPMorgan executive who managed the Epstein account before leaving the the bank. JPMorgan sued Staley earlier this year, alleging that he covered up or minimized Epstein's wrongdoing in order to maintain the lucrative account.
Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution on July 25, 2013 in Florida. (Photo by Florida Department of Law Enforcement via Getty Images)
JPMorgan had already agreed to pay $290 million in June in a class-action lawsuit that involved victims of Epstein's trafficking crimes.
Epstein died by suicide in a federal jail in 2019.
Associated Press reporter Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed.