JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaks to reporters as he leaves the U.S. Capitol after an unannounced meeting with Senate Majority Leader Schumer, reportedly about the possibility of the United States defaulting on its debt, outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, May 17, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon testified at a deposition in New York on Friday that he had no involvement in the accounts of longtime customer Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said.
Dimon was ousted amid lawsuits accusing JPMorgan of aiding and abetting Epstein’s sex trafficking of young women, which he financed with money he had deposited there.
“Our CEO repeatedly confirmed during today’s deposition that he never met him, never emailed him, has no recollection of ever discussing his accounts internally, and was not involved in any decision-making about his account,” a bank spokeswoman said. ”There are millions and millions of e-mails and other documents that have been produced in this case, and none even come close to suggesting that he had any role in making decisions about Epstein’s accounts.”
The spokeswoman added: “As we have said, we now know that Epstein’s behavior was monstrous and his victims deserve justice. In retrospect, any association with him was a mistake and we regret it, but these lawsuits are misdirected because we did not help him commit his heinous crimes.”
Dimon resigned at JPMorgan’s Manhattan headquarters. The bank previously lost a bid to dismiss the plaintiffs’ lawsuits — the government of the US Virgin Islands and Epstein’s anonymous accuser.
The lawsuits allege that JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States, kept Epstein as a customer even after it learned he was under investigation for sexually abusing underage girls in Florida and after he admitted in 2008 in a state indictment that he paid for sex. minor.
The bank is accused in complaints in U.S. District Court in Manhattan of doing so to keep Epstein, who kept tens of millions of dollars in accounts there, despite internal concerns about his slimy reputation.
The Virgin Islands alleges that Epstein used frequent cash withdrawals he made from those accounts to pay for young women to travel to the U.S. so he and others could abuse them at his mansion on a private island he owned.
“It was human trafficking [principal] trading with accounts that Epstein maintained at JPMorgan,” the Virgin Islands lawsuit says.
Dimon’s statement was made in private. The questions he was asked and the answers he gave would only become public if they were used in court filings and proceedings, or if leaked.
Also Friday afternoon, Judge Jed Rakoff held a hearing on the attorneys’ request that the plaintiff certify her lawsuit as a class action, which could add dozens of potential plaintiffs as plaintiffs. JPMorgan is resisting the demand. Rakoff is expected to rule on the issue by the end of June.
In addition to questioning Dimon under oath, the Virgin Islands issued a series of subpoenas seeking documents related to Epstein and JPMorgan from a number of high-ranking people the government suspects Epstein tried to recruit as clients of the bank.
They contain Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brinex Disney CEO Michael Ovitz, Hyatt hotels executive chairman Thomas Pritzker and Mort Zuckerman, a billionaire real estate investor.
Dimon’s resignation comes more than a week after German bank agreed to pay $75 million to Epstein’s victims to settle a potential class action lawsuit by one of his accusers. Deutsche Bank took Epstein on as a customer after JPMorgan cut ties with him in 2013, after retaining him as a client for 15 years.
JPMorgan said Dimon did not review Epstein’s accounts while he was a client there from 1998 to 2013, the year JPMorgan severed its relationship with him.
Epstein died six years later by suicide in a New York prison a month after federal authorities charged him with trafficking girls for sex.
JPMorgan pushes back
JPMorgan said in a related complaint that any civil liability it might have from Epstein’s conduct lies with its former chief executive, Jes Staley, who was Epstein’s friend and his main business contact at the bank.
Staley, who also denies any wrongdoing, earlier this week lost a bid to dismiss JPMorgan’s complaint against him, which seeks, among other things, $80 million in damages from him.
In addition to trying to pin the blame on Staley, JPMorgan this week accused the Virgin Islands of “complicity in Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes” in a court filing.
The filing says the Virgin Islands looked different when Epstein was trafficking young women because he gave money, advice and favors to high-ranking officials there.
The filing specifically states that Epstein paid school fees for children John de Jongh and his wife Cecile when John served as governor of the Virgin Islands and when Cecile worked for Epstein and managed his companies in the territory.
Cecile also allegedly tried to secure student visas for young women associated with Epstein and was his “primary conduit for spreading money and influence around the USVI government”.
The Washington Post on Friday released details of the previously accepted resignation of Mary Erdoes, who heads JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management division.
“Oh boy,” Erdoes wrote in a 2011 email to another bank executive after learning that Epstein’s sex offender status had been upheld as a result of his Florida conviction, The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper said it was “at least the sixth time that Erdoes … has been brought to the attention of Epstein’s criminal or civil problem for sex crimes.”