FINANCIAL FACILITATION: USVI goes after country’s largest bank in Epstein-related sex trafficking lawsuit
The United States Virgin Islands is suing JP Morgan Chase for its central role as the financial intermediary vital to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. USVI Attorney General Denise George accuses the country’s largest bank of “turning a blind eye,” to its client’s nefarious activities.
“Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JPMorgan,” the USVI complaint states.
Attorney General George filed the suit – USVI v. JP Morgan Chase – with the Southern District of New York located in Manhattan.
According to the Attorney General, an investigation into Epstein’s activities convinced them that JP Morgan was instrumental to the business run primarily at Epstein’s villa located on the private island of Little St. James.
In September, George’s probe determined that the financial institution “pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid” and was indispensable to the operation of Epstein’s trafficking enterprise,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Commonly referred to as “Epstein Island,” the complaint alleges that JP Morgan covered up the transfer of cash and wire payments “of a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude” of women and girls in the Virgin Islands.”
Earlier this year the U.S. territory settled a racketeering suit filed against Epstein’s estate for over $100 million dollars.
In November 2021, an investigation into former Barclay’s CEO Jes Staley revealed over 1,200 emails exchanged between the banker and the convicted sex offender.
Though Staley denies any involvement in Epstein’s activities, the two became acquainted 22 years ago when Staley became the head of JP Morgan’s private banking division that deals exclusively with wealthy clients, according to The Guardian.
Even after Epstein’s conviction in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from a minor, Staley visited his friend at his home in Florida the following year when Epstein was serving the remainder of his sentence on work release.
At the beginning of this year, Financial Times reported that it was Staley who convinced JP Morgan to keep Epstein as a client when the bank wanted to sever ties in the wake of his 2008 conviction, arguing to the bank that Epstein had paid his debt to society and should remain a client.
Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while facing sex trafficking charges.
During the trial of his wing-woman Ghislaine Maxwell two years later, a banker for JP Morgan testified that $31 million was wired to Maxwell through the bank.
This helped confirm the prosecutor’s narrative that the money was paid in exchange for finding and grooming young girls for the now-deceased pedophile.
The USVI lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for the violation of the country’s consumer, sex trafficking, and bank secrecy laws.
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