Former JPMorgan executive Staley to be questioned under oath over links to Epstein

By Luke Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jes Staley, former head of asset management at JPMorgan Chase, is set to be questioned under oath this weekend about his ties to late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deposition, which is not public, is part of gathering evidence for two civil lawsuits against the largest US bank.

One is by a proposed category of women who say they were abused by Epstein, and the other is by the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein allegedly abused women on a private island he owned.

Staley’s testimony could be the key.

In a May 1 denial of JPMorgan’s motions to dismiss both lawsuits, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said the bank could be held liable if plaintiffs show Staley had first-hand knowledge that Epstein was leading a sex trafficking business.

A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment. The bank denied responsibility and said it would have dropped Epstein as a client sooner had it known of his crimes.

Both lawsuits say JPMorgan missed red flags suggesting Epstein’s crimes, such as large cash withdrawals and unusual transfers.

The financier was a client of JPMorgan from 1998 to 2013, the last five years after pleading guilty to a prostitution charge in Florida.

He in turn sued Staley, arguing that he had concealed what he knew about Epstein’s trafficking and that he should cover any damages the bank might suffer in the cases.

Deutsche Bank agreed in May to pay $75 million to settle a similar lawsuit accusing it of facilitating the sex trafficking of Epstein while he was a client from 2013 to 2018.

Staley’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

Staley left JPMorgan in 2013, months after the bank fired Epstein, and was chief executive of Barclays from 2015 to 2021.

Chief executive Jamie Dimon said Staley left JPMorgan in part because he wasn’t doing a good job running its investment bank, his role at the time.

Staley is expected to be questioned by attorneys for the women, the Virgin Islands and JPMorgan, according to the person familiar with the matter, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, an attorney who has represented sex trafficking victims and defendants, said he expected plaintiffs to “grill” Staley over his knowledge of Epstein’s sex trafficking and whether it affected the handling of Epstein accounts.

“If they can show he paid special attention to Jeff Epstein to help him conceal payments to underage girls to have sex with them, that’s serious business – but also very difficult to show” , said Margulis-Ohnuma, who is not involved. in the case.

In a court filing responding to claims by New York-based JPMorgan, Staley said he had no idea Epstein would coerce young women and girls into having sex, or that anyone under the age of 18 would be coerced into having sex.

Staley also said JPMorgan has “unclean hands” given its own mistakes in its dealings with Epstein.

Epstein killed himself aged 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

A trial covering all charges is scheduled for October 23.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis)

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