JPMorgan Chase claimed former executive Jes Staley repeatedly thwarted its efforts to sever ties with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein while the former Barclays chief executive was employed by the US banking giant.
The claims were made in a lawsuit brought by JPMorgan against Staley in an attempt to make him liable for any penalties the company might have to pay if it is found to have facilitated Epstein’s sex-trafficking crimes in two other high-profile lawsuits.
Staley has sought to dismiss the lawsuit. In a filing on Monday in Manhattan federal court opposing that motion, lawyers for JPMorgan alleged Staley knew of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation “but thwarted any efforts within JPMC to sever ties with Epstein”.
Staley “persisted for years in protecting Epstein in the face of attempts by JPMC personnel to end the company’s relationship with Epstein on reputational grounds, made misrepresentations in the process, and continued to do so to the end of his JPMC tenure”, JPMorgan alleged.
An unnamed Epstein accuser who sued JPMorgan last year has alleged that she was assaulted by Staley while he was at the bank, and that the executive “personally observed the sexual abuse of young women” at the disgraced financier’s properties. The bank on Monday said it “did not know nor could it have reasonably known” of these allegations.
A lawyer for Staley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
His lawyers last month described allegations that he aided and abetted Epstein’s crimes as “slanderous”. He has previously denied taking part in Epstein’s crimes.
JPMorgan is being sued by the alleged Epstein victim and the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home. It is accused of enabling Epstein’s trafficking. Staley is not a defendant in either lawsuit. JPMorgan has previously called the suits “meritless”. A trial has been scheduled for October.
Staley got to know Epstein while helping to manage his money at JPMorgan, where Staley worked until 2013, the same year that the bank terminated its relationship with Epstein after about 15 years.
Staley became chief executive of Barclays in 2015 but left the bank after six years following an investigation by UK regulators into the way in which he had characterised his relationship with Epstein.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a state charge in Florida of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He was later charged in federal court with sex trafficking, and died by suicide in prison while awaiting trial.