By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a deposition on Friday that he had never met or communicated with late sex offender and former bank client Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said.
The largest U.S. bank faces lawsuits seeking damages by women who claim that Epstein sexually abused them, and by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the late financier had a home.
Epstein was a JPMorgan client from 2000 to 2013, remaining so after pleading guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge.
Dimon, who is not a defendant, had been ordered by a federal judge to set aside up to four days for depositions about what he knew about the bank’s relationship with Epstein.
“At today’s deposition, our CEO repeatedly confirmed that he never met with him, never emailed him, does not recall ever discussing his accounts internally, and was not involved in any decisions about his account,” JPMorgan said in a statement.
JPMorgan said that the “millions and millions of emails and other documents that have been produced in this case” do not come close to “even suggesting that he had any role in decisions about Epstein’s accounts.”
In court papers, JPMorgan has been accused of knowing by 2006 that Epstein paid cash to have underage girls and young women brought to his home, and ignoring several internal warnings to cut ties with him.
Dimon joined JPMorgan in 2004 and became CEO in December 2005. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.
JPMorgan said, “In hindsight, any association with (Epstein) was a mistake and we regret it, but these suits are misdirected as we did not help him commit his heinous crimes.”
JPMorgan is separately suing its former private banking chief Jes Staley, claiming he concealed what he knew about Epstein and should cover losses it may incur in the two lawsuits.
A judge on Friday ruled that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office must give JPMorgan statements made to one of its prosecutors by a woman who is suing the bank seeking monetary damages over its ties to Epstein.
The privileges and laws invoked by District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office to try to block JPMorgan from obtaining the statements did not apply to these records, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff decided.
The woman, a ballet dancer known by Jane Doe, has said she was sexually abused by Epstein. She sued New York-based JPMorgan last year in a proposed class action, accusing the bank of enabling his sex trafficking by keeping him as a client from 1998 to 2013, the last five years after he pleaded guilty to the Florida prostitution charge.
JPMorgan has denied liability. It has accused Staley, who was friendly with Epstein, of concealing what he knew about Epstein’s crimes.
Representatives for Bragg and JPMorgan declined to comment following the judge’s ruling. Staley’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
JPMorgan on March 7 issued a subpoena to the Manhattan DA’s office seeking statements that Jane Doe made to the chief of its sex crimes unit on Aug, 10, 2022, or any statements by people who identified Staley as a witness to or perpetrator of a sex crime.
Rakoff said the order that the DA turn over documents applies only to statements by Jane Doe.
Epstein died in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. New York City’s medical examiner called the death a suicide.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Megan Davies, Will Dunham, Grant McCool and Leslie Adler)