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JPMorgan allowed to access Epstein accuser’s statements to prosecutors

JPMorgan Chase can look at statements which will have been made to Manhattan prosecutors by a girl suing the financial institution over its determination to retain Jeffrey Epstein as a consumer, a New York decide dominated on Friday.

The US lender first subpoenaed the Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace earlier this month, requesting any statements made by an unnamed Epstein accuser to its intercourse crimes unit in August.

The accuser, who makes use of the pseudonym Jane Doe, has alleged that JPMorgan must be responsible for damages over her sexual abuse by the hands of Epstein, and by Jes Staley, a former senior government on the financial institution. Staley has strongly denied the allegations, calling them “slanderous”.

The financial institution sued Staley in March, arguing that he must be pressured to shoulder the price of any payouts in reference to the circumstances introduced towards JPMorgan by the Epstein accuser and the US Virgin Islands, the place the late intercourse offender as soon as had a house.

In addition to searching for paperwork regarding Jane Doe, JPMorgan had requested the Manhattan DA for data of statements made by any “particular person figuring out [Staley] as an alleged witness or an alleged perpetrator of any sexual assault, sexual abuse, or different sex-related crimes”.

Choose Jed Rakoff, who’s overseeing the circumstances in Manhattan federal courtroom, mentioned JPMorgan might entry the data in query, which he later clarified associated solely to these sought in reference to Jane Doe’s statements.

The order got here as JPMorgan chief government Jamie Dimon was answering questions below oath about his information of Epstein’s crimes.

The sworn testimony, which the US’s largest lender had tried to stop from taking place, marked a big escalation within the two high-profile circumstances over JPMorgan’s 15-year relationship with Epstein, which have embarrassed some present and former executives and shone an unflattering mild on the financial institution’s inside compliance processes.

Dimon’s title had already come up within the contentious litigation, with the lawsuits towards JPMorgan having been filed in direction of the tip of final yr. He was referenced in an inside e-mail expressing issues about Epstein, containing the phrases “pending Dimon assessment”.

Mary Erdoes, a prime JPMorgan government, instructed attorneys in a sworn deposition in March that Dimon was solely in command of supervising Staley, who was on the financial institution for many years and for a interval managed the connection with Epstein, in accordance with individuals conversant in the matter. JPMorgan’s lawsuit towards Staley alleges he misled the financial institution about Epstein’s misdeeds.

In a press release, JPMorgan mentioned its boss had by no means met with Epstein, “spoke with him, [or] emailed with him, and was not concerned in any selections about his account”. The financial institution added: “The plaintiffs know this primarily based on many years of discovery and hundreds of thousands of emails . . . but they persist in pursuit of publicity.”

But the circumstances stay one of many few blots on the copy e-book of the longtime government. He just lately introduced an nearly $16bn spending spree at JPMorgan, has been on the forefront of Wall Avenue’s lobbying efforts for a deal on the US debt ceiling to keep away from default, and scooped up First Republic, a failed lender, in a government-led public sale.

The litigation has additionally raised questions extra typically in regards to the robustness of the financial institution’s controls throughout his tenure.

“It’s truly not excellent news if Dimon didn’t know,” an individual conversant in the financial institution’s organisational construction mentioned. “If no person ever reached out to him in roughly a decade of constant to financial institution [Epstein] once they knew of his conduct and when it was public, that’s even perhaps worse information.”

JPMorgan has referred to as Epstein’s scheme “monstrous” and expressed remorse for having him as a consumer. “In hindsight, any affiliation with [Epstein] was a mistake . . . however we didn’t assist him commit his heinous crimes.”

Final week, Deutsche Financial institution settled separate Epstein-related claims for $75mn, which can be shared amongst dozens of girls.

The stakes for JPMorgan might quickly be even greater. Whereas Dimon was being deposed on Friday, a federal decide in New York heard arguments from representatives of the Epstein accuser, who contend that doubtlessly tons of of girls must be entitled to compensation from the financial institution, which they accuse of making the most of human trafficking.

Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for Jane Doe, instructed the courtroom that there was “clear proof within the report that the financial institution knew of Epstein’s conduct . . . beginning within the early 2000s” and argued that his crimes necessitated JPMorgan, which had Epstein as a consumer from 1998 to 2013, turning a “blind eye”.

Legal professionals for JPMorgan argued that alleged victims had “very totally different experiences” and may thus not be allowed to sue as a single group.

Choose Rakoff mentioned he understood the argument that “if these allegations are true, they might properly violate the sex-trafficking statute . . . and that if the cash was offered by a financial institution that knew or ought to have recognized [of Epstein’s crimes] that they might be liable too”. He mentioned he would rule by June 20.

Epstein pleaded responsible in 2008 to a state cost in Florida of soliciting a minor for prostitution. Greater than a decade later he was charged by federal prosecutors with intercourse trafficking, and died by suicide in jail in 2019 whereas awaiting trial.