US judge approves Deutsche Bank $75 million settlement with Epstein accusers

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Deutsche Bank on Friday won final approval from a U.S. judge for a $75 million settlement it reached with victims of Jeffrey Epstein who had accused the German company of facilitating the late financier’s alleged sex trafficking.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who granted preliminary approval for the deal in June, signed off on the settlement during a court hearing in Manhattan.

“This is, in the court’s view, a terrific settlement,” Rakoff said in court.

The bank did not acknowledge any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The settlement covers women who have said they were sexually abused or trafficked by Epstein or his associates from Aug. 19, 2013, until his death in a Manhattan jail six years later as he awaited trial on criminal charges that he trafficked young women and teenage girls for sex.

New York City’s medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

The lawsuit was led by a woman known as Jane Doe 1, who said Epstein sexually abused her from 2003 to 2018 and accused Deutsche Bank of missing red flags of his abuses. Epstein had been a Deutsche Bank client from 2013 to 2018, after being a JPMorgan Chase client for 15 years.

Deutsche Bank has said it made an error in taking on Epstein as a client.

Rakoff approved fees of 30% of the settlement amount for the lawyers representing the women.

One of the lawyers, David Boies, said after the hearing that the case “was a wake-up call for banks” that they must keep track of who their clients are.

Rakoff granted preliminary approval to New York-based financial services company JPMorgan’s $290 million settlement over similar claims in June. A hearing over final approval in that case is set for Nov. 9.

JPMorgan was also sued by the U.S. Virgin Islands – where Epstein owned two private islands – over claims that the bank aided Epstein. JPMorgan last month agreed to pay $75 million to settle those claims.

JPMorgan has said it regrets its association with Epstein.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York;Editing by Noeleen Walder and Will Dunham)