A New York federal judge warned JPMorgan Chase CNBC has learned it could find the bank in contempt of court if it doesn’t accelerate evidence related to late sex offender and money manager Jeffrey Epstein in lawsuits brought by an Epstein accuser and the US Virgin Islands government.
Judge Jed Rakoff noted in a statement that JPMorgan and two law firms representing the bank have been slow to provide documents and other evidence to plaintiffs in the case, through a process called “discovery.” , according to a source familiar with the release.
The announcement comes two weeks before JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is scheduled to be questioned under oath by attorneys for plaintiffs alleging that his bank facilitated and profited from Epstein’s alleged sex trade in young women.
“The court also wishes to note that it is concerned that JPMorgan is not expeditious in preparing appropriate documents,” Rakoff wrote in the statement, which is not yet on the public record of the case in U.S. District Court in Manhattan has appeared.
“While the court recognizes the large scale of the investigation that needs to be completed in this case, a firm as large as JPMorgan and attorneys as experienced as WilmerHale and Massey & Gail should be able to move faster than this incident uncovered ‘ the judge wrote, citing the bank’s two law firms.
“Therefore, JPMorgan is advised that another expedition will be required or risk contempt of court,” Rakoff wrote.
A JPMorgan spokesman did not comment on the announcement.
Jeffrey Epstein attends RADAR MAGAZINE’s launch May 18, 2005 at Hotel QT.
Patrick McMullan | Getty Images
Epstein, who died of complications from suicide in prison in 2019 shortly after his arrest on federal child trafficking charges, was a longtime client of the bank until 2013.
The lawsuits allege that the bank allowed Epstein to remain a customer despite evidence that he used the millions of dollars he held to traffic girls and young women to his private island in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere to facilitate.
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Five years before JPMorgan ended its client relationship with Epstein, he pleaded guilty in a Florida state court to soliciting sex from an underage girl for money and served 13 months in prison.
Before his sentencing, Epstein was friends with former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew of Britain.
JPMorgan denies any wrongdoing and has stated in its own civil lawsuit that former bank executive Jes Staley is legally responsible for any liability arising out of his relationship with Epstein.
Staley spent three decades at JPMorgan and was in close contact with Epstein – whom he considered a friend – during the years that Epstein was a client.
Rakoff noted in a court ruling released in early May that “plaintiffs allege that Mr. Staley had first-hand knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.”
“Mr Staley is said to have visited Epstein’s homes on a number of occasions during the ongoing operation and made observations during those visits [the Epstein accuser suing JPMorgan] “as a victim of sex trafficking and abuse,” Rakoff noted.
“The plaintiffs also allege that Mr. Staley himself abused some of Epstein’s victims, including the woman who was suing the bank,” the judge wrote. This woman alleges that “‘one of Epstein’s friends’ — whom she later identified as Mr. Staley — ‘used and informed aggressive force in his sexual assault on her’ [her] that he had Epstein’s permission to do with her as he pleased.’”
In his own court filing, Staley called the allegations against him “baseless” and denied having knowledge of Epstein’s sex trafficking.
Staley resigned as CEO of British banking giant Barclays in late 2021 after a UK regulator conducted an investigation into how he characterized his relationship between Epstein and Barclays.
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