JPMorgan, US Virgin Islands trade accusations over Epstein

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase and the U.S. Virgin Islands traded new accusations this week in legal filings over their relationships with the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The largest U.S. bank detailed how Epstein allegedly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments and loans to a former U.S. Virgin Islands governor and his wife.

The territory in a separate filing cited a 2011 email from a senior JPMorgan executive about suspicious cash withdrawals by Epstein.

JPMorgan made its allegations in a filing of more than 610 pages in Manhattan federal court. The filing containing the U.S. Virgin Islands accusations was more than 680 pages.

The territory is seeking at least $190 million from JPMorgan over the bank’s work for Epstein from 1998 to 2013.

While the documents had been previously submitted to the court, the latest filings contain fewer redactions. A trial is scheduled for Oct. 23.

JPMorgan said former U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh and his wife Cecile had an extensive relationship with Epstein that included the receipt of political donations, employment for Cecile, and a $200,000 loan to the family.

The territory, where Epstein owned two neighboring islands, is seeking damages for Epstein’s abuse victims.

JPMorgan in its filing said the territory failed to show why it deserves “victim damages” when “actual victims” of Epstein will receive money from previously announced settlements.

The U.S. Virgin Islands also failed to show that the bank committed obstruction, JPMorgan said.

The territory in response quoted a 2011 email from John Duffy, who led JPMorgan’s private bank at the time, about Epstein’s alleged withdrawals to pay victims.

“JE and I spoke about his pattern of cash withdrawals,” Duffy wrote. “His answer was ‘fuel payments in foreign countries.'” Duffy allegedly asked Epstein to use a separate account rather than his personal account for the payments.

The territory also quoted an email exchange the prior month between Epstein and Mary Erdoes, who now leads JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management business.

“Lets [sic] move on, [sic] and make some real money,” Epstein wrote.

“Onwards and upwards, on so many fronts,” Erdoes replied.

The de Jonghs, Duffy and Erdoes are not parties to the lawsuit. Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

“Rather than account for its own failures to investigate and monitor this criminal under its jurisdiction, USVI blames a bank that did not have USVI’s authority to enforce any law,” JPMorgan said in a statement responding to the territory’s filing.

The bank regretted its association with Epstein, but said it did not aid in his crimes and would not have kept him as a client had it thought he was engaged in sex trafficking.

Regarding the loan to the de Jonghs, the U.S. Virgin Islands maintained there was no evidence it gave Epstein favored treatment in exchange for political donations, and said the loan was made “after the former governor left office.”

(Reporting by Nupur Anand and Tatiana Bautzer in New York; Editing by Lananh Nguyen and David Gregorio)