Women who accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse sued Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase on Thursday, accusing the mega banks of enabling the dead billionaire’s alleged “commercial sex trafficking enterprise.”
The lawsuits, filed in New York and first reported by the Wall Street Journal, claim the institutions overlooked several “suspicious” withdrawals and payments from Epstein’s bank accounts to profit off his alleged sex crimes—and to retain the business of wealthy clients associated with Epstein.
“Knowing that they would earn millions of dollars from facilitating Epstein’s sex trafficking, and from its relationship with Epstein, Deutsche Bank chose profit over following the law,” one of the suits stated.
Deutsche Bank released a statement to The Daily Beast saying the lawsuits were “without merit,” adding that they plan to fight the allegations in court. Representatives from JPMorgan did not respond to a request for comment.
Both banks have been accused of violating the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000—a federal law passed to provide tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically.
The lawsuit against Deutsche Bank regularly cites a 2020 investigation by the New York State Department of Financial Services into the bank’s ties with the disgraced financier, which concluded Deutsche didn’t do enough to monitor Epstein’s financial activity. They were penalized with a $150 million fine to resolve the case.
“Deutsche Bank also knew that Epstein would use means of force, threats of force, fraud, abuse of legal process, exploitation of power disparity, and a variety of other forms of coercion to cause young women and girls to engage in commercial sex acts,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuits, totaling more than 75 pages each, also shed light on specific sex crimes allegedly carried out by Epstein and his ritzy friends.
One of the unnamed women, identified as Jane Doe 1, claimed she was transported to Florida “to engage in commercial sex” with Epstein at his Florida residence while he was on so-called “work release” from jail.
The suit also alleges Jane Doe 1 was sexually assaulted by a “powerful financial executive,” who she declined to name out of fear.
“During some of these massages she was sexually abused, by force and against her will, by Epstein’s friends whom she had been required to massage.”
— ‘Jane Doe 1’ suit
“There came a time when Epstein forced Jane Doe 1 to give massages to his powerful friends,” the complaint states. “During some of these massages she was sexually abused, by force and against her will, by Epstein’s friends whom she had been required to massage.”
The suit claims at least one of Epstein’s friends used “aggressive force” while assaulting Jane Doe 1, and that Epstein gave him permission “to do what he wanted to her.”
Jane Doe 1’s suit alleges that JPMorgan executive Jes Staley was instrumental to Epstein’s scheme and that the men enjoyed a “symbiotic” relationship. She claimed that large sums were withdrawn from JPMorgan accounts to pay her and other victims.
“Epstein agreed to bring many ultra-high wealth clients to JPMorgan, and in exchange, Staley would use his clout within JPMorgan to make Epstein untouchable,” the suit said.
The suit claims Epstein created a cash cow for JPMorgan that meant the bank would keep Epstein as a client “at all costs,” including the trafficking of “countless young women.”
Among Epstein’s alleged enablers was Les Wexner, another wealthy businessman who also banked with JPMorgan. The suit against JPMorgan says Epstein threatened to cut off the bank’s ties to other billionaires if they ever severed their relationship with him—a demand the suit claims JPMorgan abided by.
“Epstein made it clear to Staley that if JPMorgan ever decided to terminate its relationship with Epstein…the bank would lose Wexner and the other wealthy connections Epstein had promised JPMorgan.
“Staley was enamored with Epstein and driven by greed, which made Epstein one of the most coveted clients of JPMorgan.”
The lawsuit also alleges Epstein introduced Staley to his friend, billionaire Glenn Dubin. (A survivor of Epstein’s sex ring, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, accused Dubin of sexually abusing her, which the hedge funder has adamantly denied.)
“This arrangement was profitable for both Staley and JPMorgan, further incentivizing JPMorgan to ignore the suspicious activity in Epstein’s accounts.”
“Through Epstein’s connection, it has been reported that Staley arranged for JPMorgan to buy a majority stake in Dubin’s fund, which resulted in a sizable profit for JPMorgan,” the suit said. “This arrangement was profitable for both Staley and JPMorgan, further incentivizing JPMorgan to ignore the suspicious activity in Epstein’s accounts.”
The complaint also details a friendly relationship between Epstein and Staley, who allegedly visited the financier in Florida when he was jailed for sex offenses.
Another unnamed accuser, who is suing Deutsche, said she was sexually abused by Epstein and trafficked between 2003 and 2018, during which time she was paid in cash. Her suit claims Deutsche ignored several “red flags,” which included multiple payments to young women and substantial cash withdrawals.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs, Edwards Pottinger LLC, are pursuing unspecified damages from the banks. It’s the same Florida-based law firm who have represented past Epstein accusers since his arrest in 2019.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Brittany Henderson, a partner at the firm, urged other possible victims of Epstein to come forward.
“If you were ever victimized by Jeffrey Epstein, or any of his friends, call us. If you were around Epstein, unwittingly helped him in any way, or have any information that can help us bring those accountable to justice,” Henderson said in a statement.