JPMorgan Chase is suing former top executive Jes Staley, seeking to hold him liable for any fines the US bank may have to pay if it is found to have facilitated Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking crimes in two highly publicized trials.
Staley, who is accused in the lawsuits of ‘personally observing’ Epstein abusing women and ‘spending time’ with young girls at the disgraced financier’s home, did not disclose it to JP Morganthe bank said in a filing in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.
He did not make the disclosures “despite having a fiduciary duty” to tell JPMorgan and the bank “asking him to give his views on whether [it] should retain Epstein as a client,” the lender alleged.
In the complaint, lawyers for JPMorgan claim the lender was deceived by Staley, who allegedly shielded Epstein’s relationship with the bank and in doing so violated its code of conduct.
“Staley has repeatedly abandoned the interests of [the bank] in pursuit of his own personal interests and benefits and those of Epstein,” the complaint states.
Kathleen Harris, attorney for Staleydeclined to comment on JPMorgan’s lawsuit.
JPMorgan’s lawsuit marks the latest escalation in an increasingly contentious legal battle over the Wall Street bank’s ties to Epstein, who killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on federal girl sex trafficking charges minors.
JPMorgan’s complaint insists that the underlying allegations are “unwarranted and baseless”, but argues that if the lender is found liable, Staley should be liable for any damages. He is also asking the court to order Staley to return his compensation for what the bank described as the “period of his disloyalty”, from at least 2006 to 2013.
JPMorgan paid Staley more than $80 million from 2006 to 2011, regulatory filings show.
“The plaintiffs have made troubling allegations regarding the conduct of our former employee Jes Staley, and if true, he should be held accountable for his actions,” JPMorgan said in a statement. “At the time, we could not have imagined that any of our employees would engage in the type of conduct alleged.”
The detailed allegations about Staley were first made in two separate civil cases against JPMorgan, one brought by an alleged victim of Epstein and the other by the US Virgin Islands, where the late financier had a home. Staley is not charged in either trial.
Epstein’s alleged victim, known as Jane Doe, said in her trial that a friend of Epstein’s sexually assaulted her using force. JPMorgan said Wednesday it believed the friend was Staley.
Staley, a 66-year-old American, met Epstein while managing his money at JPMorgan, where he worked for more than 30 years until 2013, the same year the bank ended his relationship with Epstein.
Staley became chief executive of Barclays in 2015 but resigned six years later following a UK regulatory probe into how he characterized his relationship with Epstein.
Last month, the contents of some of the 1,200 emails between Staley and Epstein were made public as part of the lawsuits, in which the pair made oblique references to Disney Princesses and Staley spoke of ‘danger’ to communicate his feelings to Epstein. .
The partially redacted complaint also claimed that Epstein had twice sent Staley images of young women, although the photos were not made public.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Jane Doe, said the complaint against Staley was that JPMorgan was “trying to deflect” blame.
“Every senior executive knew exactly who Jeffrey Epstein was and chose to keep him on because he was making money for them and money was more important than abused women,” he said.
Lawyers for Doe and the Virgin Islands have sought to obtain communications from longtime JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and coerce him into testifying under oath. The bank said Dimon “was not involved in any decision regarding Epstein’s account” and declined to comment on Edwards’ statement.
A federal judge on Thursday granted the Virgin Islands’ request to turn over more documents related to Dimon.
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