Two unnamed accusers of the late Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday filed separate civil lawsuits against JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, alleging that the banks enabled and financially benefitted from Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation.
The lawsuits, which seek class-action status and unspecified financial damages, were filed under a new law in New York, which allows sexual abuse survivors to go after their alleged abusers even after the statute of limitations has expired.
“The time has come for the real enablers to be held responsible, especially his wealthy friends and the financial institutions that played an integral role,” said Bradley Edwards, one of the lawyers, in a written statement. “These victims were wronged, by many, not just Epstein. He did not act alone.”
Epstein was awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges. He was accused of running a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 where he allegedly paid girls as young as 14 for sex. He died in jail in 2019.
The lawsuits allege that by assisting Epstein through access to bank accounts and cash, it violated human-trafficking laws. Laws require banks to know who their customers are and learn what the accounts are being used for to prevent money laundering and ensure that they don’t enable criminal activity.
The banks allegedly ignored red flags and enabled Epstein to withdraw large sums of money to allegedly make cash payments to numerous young women. Both banks also continued to work with the alleged sex trafficker for years following his 2008 guilty plea to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
The suit for JPMorgan states that the bank “provided special treatment to the sex-trafficking venture, thereby ensuring its continued operation and sexual abuse and sex-trafficking of young women and girls.”
“Without the financial institution’s participation, Epstein’s sex trafficking scheme could not have existed,” it emphasized.
The suit filed against Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, alleges it chose profit over following the law.
“Knowing that they would earn millions of dollars from facilitating Epstein’s sex trafficking, and from its relationship with Epstein, Deutsche Bank chose profit over following the law. Specifically, Deutsche Bank chose facilitating a sex trafficking operation in order to churn profits,” the suit claims.
While JPMorgan has yet to comment on the case, a Deutsche Bank spokesman said that they believe the claim “lacks merit,” and they will be presenting their arguments in court.
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