NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) 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 described how Epstein allegedly paid law enforcement entities such as the Virgin Islands Police Department.
JPMorgan also alleged in the filings that Epstein had ties to U.S. Virgin Islands officials, including former first lady Cecile de Jongh, who the bank said were aware of Epstein’s crimes.
Spokespeople for the U.S. Virgin Islands did not immediately respond to requests for comment after business hours. The territory’s police department and de Jongh did not immediately respond to similar requests.
JPMorgan’s filing, redacted versions of which had already been filed, is part of its defense against a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court by the U.S. Virgin Islands over its relationship with Epstein, a client from 1998 to 2013.
The territory, where Epstein owned two neighboring islands, has accused JPMorgan of facilitating Epstein’s sex crimes by providing banking services, and enabling him to pay his victims.
Epstein died by suicide at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
EPSTEIN’S ‘BONA FIDE’ RESIDENCY
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.
The filing described Epstein’s Financial Trust Co, also known as Southern Trust Co, receiving from the U.S. Virgin Islands $219.8 million in tax benefits from 1999 to 2012, and $80.6 million from 2013 to 2018.
In connection with some benefits, the bank said Cecile de Jongh certified in 2009 that Epstein was a “bona fide resident,” despite his serving a 13-month sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty in 2008 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 that on multiple occasions the territory’s Department of Justice 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, in what JPMorgan called “cursory” inspections.
JPMorgan’s latest disclosures came a day after the U.S. Virgin Islands released a 22-page document prepared by the bank in late 2019 after Epstein’s death.
The document described Epstein’s close ties to former JPMorgan private banking chief Jes Staley, including dozens of messages between them or involving other bank officials.
JPMorgan last week reached a $290 million settlement in principle to resolve a lawsuit by dozens of Epstein accusers who said the financier abused them when they were teenagers or young women.
The bank wants Staley to cover its losses in that lawsuit and the U.S. Virgin Islands lawsuit.
Staley left JPMorgan in 2013, and later spent six years as Barclays’ (BARC.L) chief executive. He has expressed regret for his friendship with Epstein and denied knowing about his crimes.