The US Virgin Islands is seeking at least $190 million in damages from JPMorgan Chase in its lawsuit over its ties to Jeffrey Epstein, who kept money in the bank from 1998 to 2013, according to a court filing.
The territory sued the largest US bank last year alleging it facilitated the disgraced financier’s sex-trafficking venture and failed to detect suspicious financial activity. In June, JP Morgan Chase agreed to pay $290 million to settle a similar lawsuit brought by survivors of Epstein.
In the court filing, the US Virgin Islands said it wants $150 million in civil penalties and $40 million in fees and income that Epstein generated for JPMorgan Chase while he was a client, including for referring «many ultra net worth clients up to the bank.» .” The territory also asked the bank to implement new policies to prevent future human trafficking.
The suggested safeguards included separating JPMorgan Chase’s business and compliance units and appointing an independent compliance consultant to ensure the bank «does not prioritize profit over its duty to report suspicious activity,» the territory said in a statement.
«We are taking this enforcement action because JPMorgan Chase’s institutional failure enabled the sex trafficking of Jeffrey Epstein, and JPMorgan Chase must make significant changes to detect, report and stop human trafficking,» the Islands Attorney General said. US Virgins, Ariel Smith.
Smith added, «financial sanctions, as well as behavioral changes, are important to make sure that JPMorgan Chase knows the cost of putting its own profits before public safety.»
The attorney general said in the statement that the US Virgin Islands will dedicate the funds recovered in the case to support victims of human trafficking in the territory if their lawsuit is successful. The US Virgin Islands also asked the bank to cover legal fees incurred by the lawsuit.
The USVI court filing is the first time the territory has disclosed the dollar amount it is requesting from the bank. The court document comes after the judge overseeing the case ordered the plaintiffs last week to disclose the amount of damages he is seeking in the case. The trial is scheduled to begin on October 23.
In a statement, a JP Morgan Chase spokesperson said that “this document does not reflect the nature of the liquidation talks. As for the USVI misdirected damage theories, they are not well founded and are being challenged by JPM in court.”
JPMorgan Chase has denied responsibility, but has previously said that any association with Epstein was a «mistake and we’re sorry.»
JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon also said in a statement last month that he never met the disgraced financier and had never heard of him until his arrest in 2019.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution. He died by suicide in 2019 at a New York City correctional facility, where he was being held on federal sex trafficking charges.