By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jeffrey Epstein’s victims have formally asked a U.S. judge to preliminarily approve JPMorgan Chase’s $290 million settlement to resolve claims that the largest U.S. bank turned a blind eye to the disgraced financier’s sexual abuses.
Lawyers for the victims said in a Thursday night filing in Manhattan federal court that the proposed all-cash settlement with the largest U.S. bank was “fair, adequate, reasonable,” given the risks of further litigation and JPMorgan’s denying involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking.
The settlement covers women who were sexually abused or trafficked by Epstein from Jan. 1, 1998, until his death on Aug. 10, 2019, in a Manhattan jail cell. It requires approval by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan.
Epstein had been a JPMorgan client from 1998 and 2013 when the bank terminated his accounts.
Victims led by a former ballet dancer known as Jane Doe 1 said the bank missed red flags of Epstein’s abuses, and stayed in touch with him long after his official departure.
JPMorgan said in a statement this month any association with Epstein “was a mistake and we regret it”.
“We would never have continued to do business with him if we believed he was using our bank in any way to help commit heinous crimes,” the bank said.
Lawyers for the victims plan to seek up to 30% of the settlement amount for legal fees, court records show.
The victims’ lawyers also represented Epstein victims in a similar $75 million settlement with Deutsche Bank, where Epstein was also a client. Rakoff preliminarily approved that settlement on June 16.
Both banks worked with Epstein for several years after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution, and was forced to register as a sex offender.
JPMorgan has separately alleged that Jane Doe 1 was sexually abused by Jes Staley, a former private banking chief and Epstein friend who maintained close ties with him, court papers show.
Staley also left JPMorgan in 2013, and was Barclays’ chief executive from 2015 to 2021.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact Staley for comment late on Thursday but he has previously expressed regret for his friendship with Epstein and denied knowing that Epstein engaged in sex trafficking.
Epstein died at age 66 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. New York City’s medical examiner called the death a suicide.
JPMorgan also faces a lawsuit over Epstein by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two neighboring islands.
The bank is suing Staley to have him cover its losses in that lawsuit and the class action, and return eight years of compensation.
The case is Doe 1 v JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10019.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Additional reporting by Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru; editing by Robert Birsel)
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