Jeffrey Epstein Fallout: JPMorgan is suing Jes Staley

The US Virgin Islands and a group of alleged Epstein victims, led by a plaintiff identified as Jane Doe 1, sued the company last year, accusing it of funding his crimes. The bank helped manage Epstein’s fortune for years, even after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor into prostitution in 2008. His relationship with Staley is at the center of both lawsuits, which allege that JPMorgan knew or should have known about the sex offender’s behavior but still retained him as a client.

A complaint filed earlier this year alleged that Staley frequently visited Epstein’s properties, including his New York townhouse massage room, a “stash house” apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and an estate in the US Virgin Islands. The banker allegedly met many of Epstein’s human trafficking victims and saw him “sexually grab” some, their lawsuit alleges.

Snippets of the pair’s alleged correspondence were included in a file that was unsealed last month and contains references that have become speculation. For example, the USVI claims that Staley and Epstein discussed Disney princesses in July 2010:

“That was fun,” Staley reportedly wrote. “Say hello to Snow White.”

“[W]What character do you want next?” Epstein reportedly responded.

“Beauty and the Beast,” Staley wrote back.

Up until this week, the bench defended Staley, who left in 2013.

For example, in February it pushed back on claims that he witnessed Epstein’s grasping, calling the claims “unsubstantiated” and “conclusive.” Although “disgusting,” the bench argued, such groping would not prove she was a sex trafficking victim, let alone that Staley knew she was.

The bank struck a different tone this week, arguing that “if the allegations by Doe and the USVI are true, Staley has repeatedly abandoned JPMC’s interests and served his own and Epstein’s interests.”

The filing shows the bank is concerned that some claims may actually be accurate, said Robert Mass, a former compliance manager at Goldman Sachs Group. “With that in mind, they want their employees, customers and regulators to know that they have both failed to support this behavior and something they find reprehensible.”

Up until this week, JPMorgan had defended Staley, which left in 2013.

Up until this week, JPMorgan had defended Staley, which left in 2013.Credit:Bloomberg

Staley joined JPMorgan in 1979 and rose through the ranks in their investment bank before moving to head of private banking in 1999. He soon took over wealth management at Well and oversaw the two companies for nearly a decade — a time when JPMorgan bought Bank One and Dimon took over the combined firm.

In 2009, Dimon selected Staley to head JPMorgan’s investment bank. At the time, this was seen as a promotion and a signal to investors that he could one day succeed Dimon at the helm of the company. That was short-lived: Less than three years later, Staley was downgraded from JPMorgan as part of a reorganization following the loss of its London Whale deal. Within months, he resigned to join hedge fund BlueMountain Capital.

Staley resurfaced in the banking world in 2015 when he was appointed CEO of Barclays. He held the post for six years and survived a standoff with UK regulators who said he made repeated and improper attempts to uncover the identity of a whistleblower.

When his ties to Epstein first came to the fore in 2019, Staley volunteered to tell his side of the story to the Barclays board. Later that year, UK regulators opened their own investigation. After authorities presented their preliminary findings to the board, Staley abruptly resigned – but he still disputes the findings.


JPMorgan’s court filings do not specify how Staley’s previous awards would be calculated. Decades-old admissions filings list his pay packages for all but two years from 2006 to 2013, showing that he earned over $80 million and possibly significantly more during that period. The awards included stocks that would have appreciated in value if he had kept them, but he would also have paid taxes on his income.

“In light of Staley’s willful and outrageous conduct in not disclosing relevant information and in abandoning JPMC’s interests in favor of its own and Epstein’s personal interests, JPMC is entitled to punitive damages,” the bank wrote.

She has since moved to have both lawsuits dismissed and will plead her motions before US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan on Monday. Jeffrey Epstein Fallout: JPMorgan is suing Jes Staley

Brian Lowry

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