JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon was instructed to set aside two days for a deposition in litigation accusing the bank of knowingly benefiting from Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking.
US District Judge Jed Rakoff set the times at a Tuesday conference in Manhattan federal court. He said lawyers in two suits against JPMorgan would have a total of five hours to question the CEO. Rakoff also said former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley, whom the bank is suing for any Epstein liability, could also question Dimon for two hours.
A Jane Doe Epstein victim and the US Virgin Islands are both suing JPMorgan over its ties to Epstein, who was a client of the bank from 1998 to 2013. Lawyers for the bank initially fought efforts to have Dimon deposed, arguing he had no involvement in decisions about Epstein’s accounts.
Patricia Wexler, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, on Tuesday said lawyers for Doe and USVI know Dimon “has no relevant knowledge” but accused them of pursuing the deposition purely for media attention.
“A review of more than two decades of emails and other documents makes it clear that he had no involvement with Epstein or his accounts,” Wexler said in a statement. “He does not recall ever meeting, speaking or communicating with him.”
Rakoff said lawyers for the two plaintiffs should report back to him after their first day of deposing Dimon in order to determine whether a second day is necessary. JPMorgan originally offered to make him available for three hours in total.
Dimon’s deposition will follow the March questioning of the bank’s asset and wealth management chief executive Mary Erdoes. A revised complaint filed last week by the USVI citing Erdoes’s deposition testimony in alleging that JPMorgan was aware by “2006 that Epstein was accused of paying cash to have underage girls and young women brought to his home.”
The high-profile litigation, first filed in November, has cast new light on the internal discussions at JPMorgan about keeping Epstein as a client in the face of mounting allegations of sex abuse. Epstein’s relationship with Staley has become the cornerstone of the litigation, with USVI and Doe alleging the former Barclays Plc chief executive knew about Epstein’s crimes.
Emails cited in USVI’s suit against the bank detail years of conversations between Staley and Epstein, including oblique references to Disney princesses and visits to Epstein’s private island in the US territory. Correspondence between compliance staff and executives at the bank also pointed to red flags raised internally about Epstein and his use of accounts at the bank.
In seeking to depose Dimon, lawyers for the plaintiffs have pointed to an internal email about Epstein’s accounts sent weeks after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida.
“I would count Epstein’s assets as a probably outflow for ‘08,” a bank employee wrote in August 2008.
“I can’t imagine it will stay (pending Dimon review).”
JPMorgan cut ties with Epstein in 2013. He then went to Deutsche Bank, which is also being sued by a second Jane Doe Epstein victim.
The cases are USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) and Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10019, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)