Two major banks used by the late Jeffrey Epstein are being sued for allegedly “facilitating” and profiting from his sex trafficking operations involving girls and young women.
On Thursday, two anonymous accusers of Epstein filed lawsuits against Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The lawsuits, which use similar language, allege that the banks knowingly provided “the assistance, support, facilitation and provision of the most essential service to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking organization in order to successfully rape, sexually assault and coercive sex trafficking” women – despite knowing about Epstein’s operation, as The Wall Street Journal first reported.
The lawsuits seek unspecified damages and seek to be certified as a class action, according to Bloomberg.
Epstein died of an apparent suicide in prison in 2019 before he could be brought to trial, but he had been convicted of sex crimes in Florida before being charged with running a sex trafficking operation.
His longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison in June for grooming young girls for Epstein to abuse – many of whom were as young as 14.
The banking institutions knew “they would earn millions of dollars” in fees for facilitating Epstein in his illegal operation from 1998 to 2013, and “chose profit over following the law,” according to the lawsuits.
Using a bank for various transactions gave Epstein’s operations an “appearance of legitimacy”, according to the filing against Deutsche Bank. Epstein could not have maintained the sex trafficking operations without the “aid and abetment” of the banks, the lawsuits allege.
“Epstein and his co-conspirators could not have been victimized without the help of wealthy individuals and financial institutions,” said Bradley Edwards, attorney at Edwards Pottinger, one of the firms behind the lawsuit, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “We won’t stop fighting for the survivors until everyone is held accountable.”
JPMorgan did not respond to the lawsuits. A Deutsche Bank spokesperson said in a statement: “We believe this claim is unfounded and will present our case in court.”