By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Virgin Islands said it wants JPMorgan Chase to pay at least $190 million to resolve a lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. bank of ignoring the disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking.
In a Friday filing in federal court in Manhattan, the territory said it wants JPMorgan to pay a $150 million civil fine, and give up at least $40 million from its 15-year relationship with Epstein.
It also wants JPMorgan to pay compensatory damages suffered by Epstein’s victims, as well as punitive damages.
A large payout is appropriate because JPMorgan “lacked the economic incentive and motivation to place compliance with the law and prevention of trafficking ahead of its own profits,” the territory’s lawyer said in the filing.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Friday’s letter marks the first time the U.S. Virgin Islands has put a dollar figure on any sum it wants JPMorgan to pay for relationship with Epstein.
The territory wants JPMorgan held liable for providing banking services to Epstein from 1998 to 2013, enabling him to pay his victims, and ignoring internal warnings and other red flags because it valued him as a wealthy client.
Epstein, who died by suicide in August 2019, had owned two neighboring islands within the territory, including one that authorities said he bought to keep people from spying on him as he sexually abused young women and girls on the other.
A trial is scheduled for Oct. 23.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Deepa Babington)
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