Updated Sep 26, 2023 - Economy

JPMorgan agrees to pay $75 million in settlement over Epstein ties

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The JPMorgan Chase logo is seen at their headquarters building in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $75 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands over allegations the bank assisted and benefited from Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking.

Driving the news: The bank, whose reputation was harmed by the suit, did not admit to wrongdoing in the agreement Tuesday.

  • Earlier this year, JPMorgan had accused the Virgin Islands of being complicit in Epstein's activities.
  • Both sides had been set to go to trial in October.
  • The bank also said it reached an agreement with James Edward Staley, the former head of JPMorgan's head of wealth management and a friend of Epstein, to resolve the bank's claims against him. Further details were not made public.

The big picture: About $30 million of the settlement will be paid to U.S. Virgin Islands charities, including those that focus on fighting human trafficking, per a press release.

  • Another $25 million will be allotted to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help its law enforcement fight human trafficking and other crimes.
  • The bank added that it "deeply regrets" its association with Epstein and would not have kept him on as a client if they knew he was using the bank for "heinous crimes."

Context: Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal sex trafficking charges.

  • He was accused of sex trafficking female minors, witness tampering and paying underage girls to engage in sexual acts.
  • Months later, he was found dead in his jail cell, where he was under extra security. Investigators concluded it was a suicide.

Zoom out: Epstein was valuable to the private bank.

  • Staley testified in the Virgin Islands' lawsuit against the bank that Epstein had referred highly influential people such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates and the Sultan of Dubai to become to become JPMorgan clients.
  • A Gates spokesperson told Axios he was not a client of JPMorgan. Sources previously told Axios that Musk, Gates and others "were not and are not PB clients."

JPMorgan previously reached a tentative agreement to settle a class action lawsuit brought by a survivor of Epstein's sexual abuse or sex trafficking.

Go deeper: How Jeffrey Epstein peddled influence to JPMorgan

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details, background and context. It has been corrected to reflect Staley testified that Epstein referred Musk, Gates and other big names to JP Morgan (not that they had become clients). Sources, including a Gates spokesperson, have told Axios some of them did not become clients.

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