Two anonymous women who accuse the late Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse have filed separate civil lawsuits against JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, claiming that the big banks enabled and financially benefited from the alleged sex trafficking operation of Epstein.
The class action lawsuits were filed in part under a new law in New York, which allows adult survivors of sexual abuse to sue their alleged abusers, even if the statute of limitations has expired.
When he died, Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach estate, and allegedly paying off girls as young than 14 for sex.
The new lawsuit against JPMorgan accuses the financial institution of ‘providing special treatment to the sex trafficking business, thereby ensuring the continuation of its activities and the sexual abuse and sex trafficking of young women and girls “.
“Without the involvement of the financial institution, Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme could not have existed,” the lawsuit states.
A separate lawsuit filed Thursday by an unnamed second woman representing a class of plaintiffs says that when JP Morgan began “splitting itself off from Epstein” in 2013, Deutsche Bank “became the bank Epstein needed to finance his sexual abuse and sex trafficking operation”.
“Knowing that they would make millions of dollars by facilitating Epstein’s sex trafficking and through its relationship with Epstein, Deutsche Bank chose profit over following the law. Specifically, Deutsche Bank chose to facilitate a sex trafficking operation in order to generate profits,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges Deutsche Bank ignored red flags, including payments to numerous young women and large cash withdrawals.
In 2020, New York regulators fined Deutsche Bank $150 million and criticized the lender for “mistakes and negligence” in its relationship with Epstein.
According to the regulator, the bank was repeatedly informed of past charges against Epstein and his alleged accomplices as soon as he became a client.
In a statement at the time, Deutsche Bank said it recognized its “mistake in integrating Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and learned from our mistakes and shortcomings.”
The suit reads: “Without the help of Deutsche Bank, Epstein could not have abused or trafficked the dozens of young women he made between 2013 and 2018.”
Brian Blackstone, head of communications for the US region of Deutsche Bank AG, told CNN “We believe this claim is without merit and will present our case in court.”
The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages to be determined by jury trial.