Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co, testifies during a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Cities Affairs Committee hearing on September 22, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview on Thursday he was “so sad” the bank had any business relationship with Jeffrey Epstein – but denied the firm was legally liable for the dead predator’s sex trade.
Dimon also said in a television interview with Bloomberg that if JPMorgan had known everything that had come out about its former client Epstein in recent years, “we would have done things differently.”
Dimon is scheduled to begin giving affidavit on May 26 on civil sex abuse claims filed by the US Virgin Islands government and an Epstein accuser in federal court in Manhattan. The lawsuits allege that JPMorgan facilitated and benefited from Epstein’s sex trade, which included sending young women to the Virgin Islands, where they were abused by him and others on his private island there.
Court filings this week detail how JPMorgan employees shared concerns among themselves about having Epstein as a client for years – long before the bank ended its relationship with him.
“I’m so sad that we even had a relationship with this man,” Dimon told Bloomberg on Thursday.
“You know, we had top lawyers judging this [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] enforcement that [Department of Justice]you know, and if we had known then what we know now, of course we would have done things differently.
“But it’s very unfortunate and I have a lot of respect for these women,” Dimon said.
“It does not mean that we are liable for the actions of any individual, but I have great respect for them, my heart goes out to them,” he said.
Epstein, who had been a customer of the bank since 1998 and had millions of dollars in deposits, pleaded guilty to a 2008 Florida indictment to soliciting sex from an underage girl. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison.
Despite this belief, Epstein remained a client of JPMorgan until 2013.
A mug shot of Jeffrey Epstein released by the US Department of Justice.
Source: US Department of Justice
JPMorgan recently attempted to shift legal responsibility for its relationship with Epstein to Jes Staley, the firm’s former head of investment banking, who had been in close contact with Epstein over the years he was a client.
But at a court hearing in March, a US Virgin Islands attorney told Judge Jed Rakoff, “Jamie Dimon knew in 2008 that his billionaire client was a sex trafficker.”
“If Staley is a rogue employee, why isn’t Jamie Dimon?” said attorney Mimi Liu at that hearing.
“Staley knew, Dimon knew, JPMorgan Chase knew” of Epstein’s criminal behavior, Liu said. “They broke every rule to facilitate his sex trade in exchange for Epstein’s wealth, connections and endorsements.”
Liu said the bank should have reported suspicious cash transactions and wire transfers from Epstein, which included sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to several women.
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A JPMorgan attorney at that hearing denied that Dimon had “specific knowledge” of Epstein, and a bank spokeswoman said, “Jamie Dimon does not recall reviewing the Epstein accounts.”
Epstein took his own life in a New York jail in August 2019, a month after he was arrested on federal child trafficking charges.
Since then, several of Epstein’s former friends and associates, including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew, have been criticized for their ties to the predator.
Staley resigned as CEO of Barclays in November 2021 due to his ties to Epstein.
A Nov. 2, 2006 email released this week in court filings relating to one of the lawsuits against JPMorgan underscores a senior bank official’s concern about Epstein.
The email was sent by Ann Borowiec, then JPMorgan’s head of investor relations, to Staley, who was then CEO of JPMorgan’s wealth management division. The subject line of the message reads: “Epstein – please call me.”
Borowiec began the message by asking Staley, who was on a plane bound for Hong Kong, to call her as soon as he could about an upcoming meeting of her team, apparently with Epstein.
“Also, after a little due diligence, I have concerns about risk management with this client,” she wrote. “We have a poor track record in risk internally.
In January 2011, several years after Epstein pleaded guilty to the Florida case and was registered as a sex offender, a JPMorgan executive named Maryanne Ryan, who was a compliance manager, wrote an email to Philip DeLuca, the bank’s compliance director, and noted a “rapid response meeting on Epstein, the sleazy PB [private banking] Client.”
DeLuca replied, “That’s the guy who likes young girls, right? I hope they don’t give up!!”
A June 2013 email chain between Ryan and DeLuca includes an attachment detailing aspects of the bank’s relationship with Epstein, “which was previously forwarded to the PB Reputational Risk Committee.”
The email states that in July 2008, PB Risk referred Jeffrey Epstein to AML [Anti-Money Laundering] Excessive cash activity investigation.”
“Similarly, an open-source review of media reports in the course of transaction activity review revealed several negative media articles alleging links between Jeffrey Epstein and the underage prostitution/sex trade.”
The copied portion of the email further states that AML investigations and PB Risk had discussions which “reconfirmed” that they had documented Epstein’s negative background and “classified him as high risk”. The section notes that in October 2010, AML Investigations “escalated news reports suggesting renewed law enforcement interest in Epstein and called for a rapid response call.”
An email chain with DeLuca reveals that a rapid response call was held in January 2011, after which Epstein was again retained as a customer, but an agreement was reached that “Catherine Keating and William Langford explain to Jes Staley how the existence of Epstein.” The relationship could undermine the ongoing human trafficking project as part of the AML investigation.” Keating was CEO of JPM Private Bank from 2005 to July 2011.
This anti-money laundering project was led by Langford, who was a regulatory policy officer at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) before joining JPMorgan in 2006.
“Langford mentioned briefing Steven Cutler on the potential press and optics related to maintaining the Epstein relationship while also spearheading anti-trafficking efforts within the AML,” the email said. Cutler was a former general counsel and head of legal and compliance operations.
“No change in retention,” the email concludes.