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Jeffrey Epstein got $300 million tax breaks, paid US Virgin Islands police, JPMorgan says


By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase said the U.S. Virgin Islands gave Jeffrey Epstein more than $300 million in tax incentives and waived sex offender monitoring requirements, shielding the disgraced late financier as he gave cash and gifts to top officials.

In a Tuesday night court filing, the largest U.S. bank also described how Epstein allegedly paid law enforcement entities such as the Virgin Islands Police Department.

The newly unredacted filing is part of JPMorgan’s effort to show that the U.S. Virgin Islands, including former first lady Cecile de Jongh, “actively facilitated” Epstein’s sexual abuse of young women and teenage girls.

JPMorgan is defending in Manhattan federal court against the territory’s lawsuit filed in December over its relationship with Epstein, a client from 1998 to 2013.

The U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two neighboring islands, has accused JPMorgan of facilitating Epstein’s crimes by providing banking services, and enabling him to pay victims.

“JPMorgan Chase is the only party to this lawsuit that had real-time knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s human trafficking operation,” Venetia Velazquez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Virgin Islands attorney general, said in a statement.

“The evidence disclosed so far suggests the bank chose to prioritize its profits over protecting victims.”

U.S. Virgin Islands police “never received a single complaint” about Epstein’s sex trafficking and would have investigated complaints, a person familiar with the territory’s law enforcement practices said. The person lacked authority to discuss those practices publicly.

Neither the police department nor de Jongh immediately responded to requests for comment.

JPMorgan agreed last week to pay $290 million to settle a lawsuit by dozens of Epstein’s accusers, pending court approval.

Epstein died by suicide at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.


JPMorgan had described a “quid pro quo” relationship between Epstein and U.S. Virgin Islands officials such as de Jongh, whose husband, John, served as governor from 2007 to 2015.

The bank has said Cecile de Jongh managed Epstein’s local companies for eight years and helped arrange visas for some victims, in exchange for Epstein providing a salary, bonuses and tuition for her children’s schools.

Tuesday’s filing described Epstein’s Financial Trust Co, also known as Southern Trust Co, receiving $219.8 million in tax benefits from the U.S. Virgin Islands between 1999 and 2012, and $80.6 million between 2013 and 2018.

In connection with some benefits, the bank said Cecile de Jongh certified in 2009 that Epstein was a “bona fide resident,” despite his then serving a 13-month sentence following his 2008 guilty plea to a Florida prostitution charge.

JPMorgan also said the territory waived restrictions on Epstein’s ability to travel, despite his sex offender status.

It said the territory’s Department of Justice on multiple occasions did not make timely notifications of Epstein’s status under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, “something Epstein even personally brought up with USVI DOJ.”

The bank also said “Epstein was often not present” when the territory checked up on him at his home.

JPMorgan’s latest disclosures followed Monday’s release by the U.S. Virgin Islands of a 22-page document prepared by the bank in late 2019 after Epstein’s death.

The document described Epstein’s ties to former JPMorgan private banking chief Jes Staley, including dozens of personal messages between them, and messages involving other bank officials.

JPMorgan has sued Staley, and wants him liable for damages it might owe in the accusers’ and U.S. Virgin Islands’ lawsuits.

Staley left JPMorgan in 2013, and later spent six years as Barclays’ chief executive.

He has expressed regret for his friendship with Epstein and repeatedly denied knowing about his crimes.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler, Gerry Doyle and Deepa Babington)

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