The US bank JP Morgan is suing the ex-Barclays boss and its former employee Jes Staley, over his relationship with the late billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The lawsuit is JP Morgan’s attempt to make Staley liable for penalties it may face as a result of two separate legal battles that accuse the lender of helping Epstein’s sex trafficking of women and girls.
JP Morgan is being sued by prosecutors in the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home on the private island of Little St James, and also by a woman known only as Jane Doe 1.
Those lawsuits, while aimed at JP Morgan, have claimed that its former employee Staley “observed victims personally”, including “visiting young girls at Epstein’s apartments” and exchanging 1,200 emails with the late financier that included photos of young women in seductive poses and referring to women by the names of Disney princesses.
JP Morgan said in a statement: “While the conduct Epstein was accused of is despicable, the lawsuits against JPMC are misplaced and without merit. The plaintiffs have made troubling allegations concerning the conduct of our former employee Jes Staley, and if true he should be held responsible for his actions.
“At the time, we could not have imagined any of our employees would engage in the type of conduct alleged. We expect all of our employees at every level of the firm to act with honesty and integrity. If these allegations against Staley are true, he violated this duty by putting his own personal interests ahead of the company’s.”
Staley developed a relationship with Epstein in 2000 when he was hired to lead JP Morgan’s private bank, which handles wealthy clients. Staley stayed in contact with Epstein for seven years after Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008, and visited Epstein in Florida while he was still serving his sentence and on work release in 2009.
That relationship continued after Staley left JP Morgan, where he had spent 30 years of his career, in 2013. Staley – who later served as Barclays chief executive until he stepped down in 2021 over a UK regulatory investigation into his ties to Epstein – has previously claimed their contact started to taper off after he left JP Morgan.
Epstein was found dead in a New York jail cell in 2019, where he was being held without bail after his arrest on sex-trafficking charges. He was facing trial in Manhattan on federal crimes, having worked out a plea deal in Florida years earlier on charges of sex offences.
Staley’s lawyer declined to comment.
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