NEW YORK: A former JPMorgan Chase & Co executive who befriended Jeffrey Epstein urged a US judge to throw out the bank’s lawsuit against him, accusing JPMorgan of deflecting blame for its own failures in working with the late sex offender.
In a Monday night filing in Manhattan federal court, Jes Staley said the largest US bank had no viable claims against him over its relationship with Epstein, a client from 1998 to 2013, and could not plausibly allege he was solely at fault.
Staley said there were no allegations he provided services at JPMorgan that were the “lifeblood” of Epstein’s sex trafficking in young women and girls, or that he saw suspicious activity in the financier’s accounts.
“What is certain is that the bank cannot treat Mr Staley as its public relations shield by asserting claims that lack any legal (or factual) basis,” Staley said.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to requests for comment after business hours.
The New York-based bank wants Staley, who spent six years as Barclays Plc’s chief executive after leaving JPMorgan, to forfeit eight years of compensation, and cover its losses in two lawsuits stemming from its work with Epstein.
One lawsuit was filed by women who accused the financier of sexual abuse. The other was filed by the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned a private island. Both seek money damages.
JPMorgan has been accused of repeatedly transferring cash to pay Epstein’s victims, ignoring many warnings from compliance and other employees to cut ties with him, and working with Epstein even after dropping him as a client.
The lawsuits against JPMorgan, and the bank’s lawsuit against Staley, are scheduled for an Oct 23 trial before US district judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan.
Staley denies sexual assault
Staley led JPMorgan’s asset management business from 2001 to 2009, and its corporate and investment bank from 2009 to 2013.
In its third-party complaint, JPMorgan accused Staley of “intentional and outrageous conduct” for misleading it about Epstein’s character and conduct.
According to court papers, Staley swapped sexually suggestive messages about young women with Epstein.
JPMorgan also accused Staley of sexually assaulting the named plaintiff, a former ballet dancer known as Jane Doe 1, in the lawsuit by Epstein accusers.
Staley called that accusation “baseless.” He has also expressed regret for his relationship with Epstein.
JPMorgan has denied knowing about Epstein’s crimes.
In a separate filing on Monday, JPMorgan denied the US Virgin Islands’ main accusations, largely a formality after Rakoff last month rejected the bank’s dismissal motion.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge and registered as a sex offender.
He died in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 in what New York City’s medical examiner called a suicide, one month after being criminally charged with sex trafficking.
Staley resigned from Barclays in November 2021 amid a dispute with British financial regulators over his ties to Epstein.
The cases in the US district court, Southern district of New York are: Jane Doe 1 v JPMorgan Chase & Co, No 22-10019; Government of the US Virgin Islands v JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, No 22-10904; and JPMorgan Chase Bank NA v Staley, in Nos 22-10019 and 22-10904.