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JPMorgan to pay $290 million to settle with Epstein victims – source

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By Nupur Anand, Lananh Nguyen and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay about $290 million to settle a class action lawsuit by victims of Jeffrey Epstein, a person familiar with the matter said, resolving a large part of litigation over the bank’s relationship with the disgraced financier.

The largest U.S. bank said on Monday in a joint statement with the lawyers for the woman who sued JPMorgan Chase that it had agreed in principle to settle the class action lawsuit.

JPMorgan Chase did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to settle according to the person familiar, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Any association with him (Epstein) was a mistake and we regret it,” JPMorgan said. “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 is still facing a lawsuit by the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two neighboring islands and was suspected of abusing victims in his mansion.

The proposed class action lawsuit said JPMorgan ignored internal warnings about Epstein’s sexual abuses of girls and young women.

JPMorgan kept Epstein as a client of the bank from 1998 until he was dropped in 2013 even after his 2006 arrest on prostitution-related charges and a related guilty plea two years later.

JPMorgan’s litigation against its former executive Jes Staley, who it accuses of concealing what he knew about Epstein, is continuing.

Staley has said he regretted befriending Epstein, but denied knowing about his sex trafficking. His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

DEUTSCHE BANK SETTLED SIMILAR CASE

Deutsche Bank, where Epstein was a client from 2013 to 2018, last month agreed to pay $75 million to settle a similar lawsuit by women who said they were trafficked by Epstein.

“The settlements signal that financial institutions have an important role to play in spotting and shutting down sex trafficking,” Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for the woman known as Jane Doe 1 who sued JPMorgan, said in a statement.

Epstein died in August 2019 at the age of 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking. New York City’s medical examiner called his death a suicide.

The settlement partially resolves a rare public relations imbroglio for Jamie Dimon, who has been JPMorgan’s chief executive since 2006.

Dimon testified under oath in May that he had barely heard of Epstein until his July 2019 arrest, and did not recall discussing Epstein’s accounts with other bank officials, including those authorized to terminate Epstein as a client.

Staley was once a close Dimon ally and considered a possible successor as CEO.

Dimon said he asked Staley to leave JPMorgan in 2013, before Epstein’s termination as a client, because he was not running its investment bank well. Epstein was not a factor in Staley’s departure, Dimon said.

Documents disclosed in the lawsuit showed that former JPMorgan counsel Stephen Cutler had asked the bank to cut ties with Epstein, but other executives resisted.

(Reporting by Nupur Anand, Lananh Nguyen, Saeed Azhar, Luc Cohen, Jonathon Stempel in New York; Editing by Alexander Smith and Grant McCool)

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