By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 9, 2023 ~
Jamie Dimon is between a rock and a hard place. He is either going to have to convince a jury come October that he was left in the dark by the bank’s general counsel, his compliance and money laundering executives, and the heads of his investment bank and asset and wealth division about the fact that notorious child molester Jeffrey Epstein was a client at the bank for more than a decade – which would make Dimon sound so isolated as to be unfit to be running the bank – or Dimon is going to have to admit that he lied under oath in his federal court deposition. Neither is a comfortable proposition to be facing for a jury trial currently scheduled for October 23.
JPMorgan Chase is currently facing off against three federal lawsuits before Judge Jed Rakoff in the Southern District of New York that charge the bank with facilitating Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, which included dozens of underage school girls. One lawsuit was brought by Epstein’s victims; another by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands where Epstein owned an island compound; and a third by shareholders of the bank, which name the bank, Dimon, another bank executive and specific Board Members as defendants.
It is the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands that is currently scheduled for trial on October 23 that poses a significant amount of legal peril for Dimon. That lawsuit alleges that JPMorgan Chase not only “facilitated” Epstein’s crimes against women and girls but “actively participated in Epstein’s sex trafficking venture.”
According to the transcript of Dimon’s deposition conducted on May 26, his position is this:
“I don’t recall knowing anything about Jeffrey Epstein until the stories broke sometime in 2019. And I was surprised that I didn’t even — had never even heard of the guy, pretty much, and how involved he was with so many people.”
Dimon’s reference to stories breaking in 2019 is because the U.S. Department of Justice, which had cut Epstein a notorious sweetheart deal in 2007 that provided him a non prosecution agreement and allowed him to plead to two counts of procuring prostitution (instead of multiple counts of rape and sexual assaults of underage schoolgirls) finally got around to bringing federal sex trafficking charges against Epstein in 2019 – after Epstein and his wealthy pals had raped and sexually assaulted hundreds of other girls.
The details of that 2007-2008 sweetheart deal had been making headlines for years – headlines that Dimon somehow missed, despite testifying in his deposition that he read multiple newspapers daily. In addition to newspaper headlines, bestselling author, James Patterson’s book, “Filthy Rich,” covering Epstein’s sexual assaults of young girls had been released in 2016 and Julie Brown’s blockbuster series on Epstein’s crimes in the Miami Herald in 2018 had caused a viral media storm. But Dimon somehow missed it all.
Dimon’s general counsel from 2007 to 2015 was Stephen Cutler, the former Director of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cutler stepped down as General Counsel in 2015 to become Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Chase and a senior advisor to Dimon and the bank’s Board of Directors. He served in that position until 2018 when he left the bank to join the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. It is almost inconceivable that in all those years Cutler would not have brought the reputational risk that Epstein posed to the bank to the attention of Dimon or the Board.
According to emails obtained by the U.S. Virgin Islands in discovery, Cutler was aware of Epstein’s history and the existence of his accounts at the bank from at least 2011. Cutler reported directly to Dimon and his office was located next door to Dimon’s office. The emails show that Cutler was against keeping Epstein as a client. It is only common sense that someone higher up than Cutler would have had to overrule him. That suggests some interference by Dimon or the Board of Directors to keep Epstein and his accounts at the bank.
In addition, dozens of internal emails show that a multitude of the bank’s compliance personnel and anti-money laundering staff were holding “Rapid Response” team meetings as each scandalous newspaper article about Epstein appeared.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has produced extensive evidence that the motive for keeping Epstein as a client at JPMorgan Chase, despite his ongoing sex trafficking, was the revenues his accounts were generating for the bank and the ultra wealthy clients he was referring to the bank.
In a court filing on July 26, the U.S. Virgin Islands lists the following individuals as people Epstein referred as clients to the bank: Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates; Google co-founder and billionaire Sergey Brin; the Sultan of Dubai, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem; media and real estate billionaire Mort Zuckerman; former U.S. Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President Larry Summers, and numerous others.
Another big hurdle for Dimon before a jury is a smoking gun email raised during Dimon’s deposition by well-known attorney, David Boies, of law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. (Dimon’s deposition was conducted jointly by lawyers for the U.S. Virgin Islands and lawyers for Epstein’s victims. Boies is representing the victims.)
Boies introduced an email directly referring to a planned Epstein meeting with Dimon in 2010. The exchange between Boies and Dimon went as follows:
Boies: “On February 26, 2010, Lesley Groff [Epstein’s assistant] writes Mr. Epstein on the subject of, Jes [Staley] and Jamie. ‘Shall I have Lynn prepare heavy snacks for your evening appointments with [redacted], Jes Staley and Jamie Dimon? Or is this to be a nice, sit-down dinner at 9 p.m.?’ And Mr. Epstein replies, ‘Snacks.’ “
“I have never had an appointment with Jeff Epstein. I’ve never met Jeff Epstein. I never knew Jeff Epstein. I never went to Jeff Epstein’s house. I never had a meal with Jeff Epstein. I have no idea what they’re referring to here.”
Boies points out that there is no followup email between Epstein and Groff where Epstein tells her she is misinformed and Dimon is not going to be at the meeting.
Jes Staley testified in his deposition that he had discussions with Dimon about Epstein in 2006, thus refuting Dimon’s narrative of what he knew and when he knew it.
There is no dispute that Epstein had accounts at JPMorgan and its successor, JPMorgan Chase, from at least 1998 to 2013. (A former FBI agent retained as an expert witness by the U.S. Virgin Islands is prepared to testify that the account relationship dates back to 1985.) According to transaction documents obtained in discovery by the U.S. Virgin Islands, JPMorgan Chase handled 9,000 transactions payable to Epstein-related individuals (which included his accomplices and recruiters of underage girls) between 2005 and 2019, and “had a combined value of over $2.4 billion.”
In addition, without filing the legally-required Suspicious Activity Reports for a Level 3 Registered Sex Offender who had been chronicled in dozens of newspaper reports as paying his victims in cash, JPMorgan Chase allowed Epstein or his representative to withdraw the following sums in hard cash from his accounts at the bank according to a court filing made by the U.S. Virgin Islands:
“In the year 2003, Epstein was able to withdraw highly suspicious amounts of cash totaling $175,311. In 2004, he withdrew $840,000. In 2005, he withdrew $904,337. In 2006, he withdrew $938,625. In 2007, he withdrew $526,000. In 2008, he withdrew $469,000. In 2009, he withdrew $165,011. In 2010, he withdrew $253,397. In 2011, he withdrew $260,000. In 2012, he withdrew $290,000. In 2013, he withdrew $197,152.”
According to internal documents produced in discovery, Epstein was allowed to withdraw in hard cash as much as $40,000 to $80,000 per month in some years without the mandated filings of Suspicious Activity Reports by the bank.
Adding to the stench around Epstein’s long-term relationship with JPMorgan Chase is the question as to how the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI investigated this case from 2007 to at least 2019 and never discovered that JPMorgan Chase was at the center of handling the financing for this international sex ring with 9,000 transactions of over $2.4 billion.
When the U.S. Department of Justice learned in 2014 that JPMorgan Chase had been the bank handling Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi account for decades, it charged the bank with two felony counts and imposed massive fines. Why aren’t we hearing a peep from the U.S. Department of Justice now about JPMorgan Chase – especially after its disgrace in letting Epstein off the hook in 2007-2008?
Equally troubling, the Epstein-related lawsuits before Judge Rakoff against JPMorgan Chase have been making headlines in major U.S. newspapers for months now. Why hasn’t the U.S. Senate Banking Committee or the Senate Finance Committee convened hearings?
On August 11 of last year, President Biden’s Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, told the American people this:
“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the rule of law evenly, without fear or favor.”
Garland’s credibility on that issue hinges on how JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, and its billionaire Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, are treated in the Epstein matter.