JPMorgan Chase claimed its former executive Jes Staley, a Southampton homeowner, helped cover up sex trafficking for his ex-client, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the bank alleged Wednesday in a lawsuit.
The bank seeks to hold Staley personally liable for any financial penalties that JPMorgan may have to pay in two related cases. It is also seeking to force Staley to pay back wages he earned during the time he allegedly was aware of the abuse and “personally observed” Epstein’s behavior on multiple occasions.
“Staley failed to report his knowledge of and personal conduct with Epstein to [JPMorgan Chase ]and instead consistently and misleadingly vouched for Epstein’s good character and conduct while [the bank] was deliberating on whether [it] should continue to do business with Epstein,” the bank said in its lawsuit. It claimed in court documents that it is entitled to unspecified punitive damages “in light of Staley’s intentional and outrageous conduct.”
JPMorgan filed the suit in Manhattan federal court after the bank was sued last year by the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as by a woman identified as Jane Doe, who was allegedly abused by Epstein. Those lawsuits claim JPMorgan should have seen evidence of Epstein’s sex trafficking and knowingly benefited from it.
Previous lawsuits have shown Staley and Epstein exchanged hundreds of emails and text messages over the years, and they were seen to have a close relationship that went beyond the professional relationship a banker would have with a wealthy client. In some of those messages, the two discuss Disney princesses such as “Snow White” and “Beauty and the Beast,” although the meaning has not been established.
The bank continues to deny the allegations in its lawsuit, however it appears to allege that Staley may have committed sexual assault. It notes in its lawsuit that the anonymous Doe described a “powerful financial executive” could “use his clout within JP Morgan to make Epstein untouchable.” The bank says that the financial executive was Staley.
Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal charges accusing him of paying underage girls hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and then molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York. He was found dead in jail on August 10 of that year, at age 66. A medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
Staley left JPMorgan in 2013 to become CEO of London-based bank Barclays. He resigned last year following a report by British regulators into his past links with Epstein. A lawyer for Staley had no comment on the lawsuit. Staley purchased 181 Murray Place in Southampton in 2021 for $13.2 million, property records show.
The latest local development in the Epstein saga comes after the Water Mill homeowning accountant and co-executor of the estate for Epstein reached a $105 million settlement in December to resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Virgin Islands. Attorneys for Richard Khan, who has served as co-executor along with Epstein’s longtime Glen Cove native attorney Darren Indyke, who authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands accused of being Epstein’s co-captains, did not have to admit wrongdoing as a part of the settlement.
-With Associated Press and Taylor K. Vecsey