A federal judge on Monday approved a $290m preliminary settlement in a lawsuit from alleged abuse victims accusing JPMorgan Chase of turning “a blind eye” to the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking ring.
“This is a really fine settlement,” US District Judge Jed Rakoff said on Monday in court, according to Reuters.
The suit, filed in court last year on behalf of Epstein victims, under the name of an anonymous woman dubbed Jane Doe 1, accused the bank of ignoring Epstein’s troubled history, including continuing to do business with him for five years after the disgraced financier pleaded guilty in 2008 to child prostitution charges and registered as a sex offender.
The US-based bank and the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit reached a provisional settlement earlier this month, they announced.
“Any association with him was a mistake and we regret it. We would never have continued to do business with him if we believed he was using our bank in any way to help commit heinous crimes,” JPMorgan Chase said in statement announcing the settlement.
“The parties believe this settlement is in the best interests of all parties, especially the survivors who were the victims of Epstein’s terrible abuse,” the bank added.
A separate suit from the US Virgin Islands attorney general accuses the bank of having “pulled the levers” that allowed Epstein to traffick women and girls for years.
The action alleges JPMorgan concealed wire and cash transactions that facilitated the exploitation of numerous vulnerable people, including acts that took place on the financier’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
As The Independent has reported, the bank has denied being complicit in any wrongdoing, and instead alleged the US Virgin Islands knowingly shielded Epstein from accountability while “reaping the benefits of his wealth”.
Earlier this year, Deustche Bank agreed to pay $75m to settle a similar lawsuit from Epstein victims.
In 2019, Epstein was arrested on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
He was found dead in August of that year by suicide, according to officials.
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