JPMorgan Chase reached an agreement in principle to settle a class action lawsuit brought by victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme, the two sides said Monday.
“The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, especially the survivors who were the victims of Epstein’s terrible abuse,” said a joint statement.
It gave no financial details of the agreement, and said the settlement is “subject to court approval.”
The agreement comes on the heels of a parallel Deutsche Bank settlement announced in May, as the litigation forces Wall Street banks to reckon with their role in the scandal involving the disgraced Epstein, who died in prison in 2019.
News of the agreement came on the same day that US District Judge Jed Rakoff granted class-action certification to the claims, which were brought by plaintiff Jane Doe 1 “individually and on behalf of others similarly situated.”
In a 30-page ruling Monday, Rakoff concluded that Jane Doe 1’s fellow victims were numerous enough to qualify as a class and that the case otherwise met the requirements.
“The core of this case — plaintiffs allegation that JPMorgan supported Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking venture while it knew or should have known that venture was in operation — involves a common set of law and fact,” Rakoff wrote.
– ‘We regret it’ –
The lawfirm Boies Schiller and Flexner, which represented plaintiffs in both the Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan cases, hailed the agreement as a step towards justice.
“Taken together or individually, the historic recoveries from the banks who provided financial services to Jeffrey Epstein, speak for themselves,” said David Boies.
“It has taken a long time, too long, but today is a great day for Jeffrey Epstein survivors, and a great day for justice.”
JPMorgan Chase reiterated that it regretted its association with Epstein.
“We all now understand that Epstein’s behavior was monstrous,” said a bank spokeswoman.
“Any association with him 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.”
In May in a parallel case, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $75 million to settle litigation brought by the victim.
JPMorgan began its banking services with Epstein as early as 1998, but did not cut him off until 2013.
Plaintiffs had alleged that JPMorgan either knew or should have known from 2006 that it was supporting a sexual predator, but that the bank kept Epstein as a client well beyond that period.
The case has included a deposition from JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, with questions focusing on when top officials became aware of Epstein’s conduct and why he wasn’t cut off earlier.
JPMorgan has blamed former executive Jes Staley for maintaining the relationship with Epstein. Litigation between the bank and Staley is ongoing, along with cases between JPMorgan and the US Virgin Islands, according to Monday’s joint statement.
On Friday, attorneys for the victims asked the court to order a second round of testimony from Dimon, alleging that the bank had “strategically withheld” documents prior to Dimon’s May 26, 2023 deposition that impeded their questioning.
Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages, but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal.
Later awaiting trial on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, he killed himself in a New York jail cell in August 2019 at age 66.