The US Virgin Islands asked a US court to order Barclays Plc to turn over documents related to the relationship its former chief executive officer Jes Staley had with sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The US territory is seeking the documents for use in a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co., which it accuses of “turning a blind eye” to Epstein’s sex-trafficking on his private island.
USVI said the evidence it has requested from Barclays will help the court resolve its JPMorgan suit. Barclays produced documents to the UK Financial Conduct Authority in 2021 as part of a probe into Epstein’s relationship with Staley, a former JPMorgan senior executive who left the bank in 2013 to join Barclays.
Staley “developed a close relationship with Epstein” when he was the head of JPMorgan’s Private Bank, USVI said in a court filing Thursday.
Staley exchanged about 1,200 emails with Epstein from 2008 to 2012, the territory said. USVI is seeking what Barclays produced to the FCA regarding Staley’s relationship with Epstein, as well as the FCA’s report on the probe and any documents reflecting the bank’s investigation into that relationship, according to the filing.
The communications “reveal that Staley corresponded with Epstein while Epstein was incarcerated and visited Epstein’s Virgin Islands residence on multiple occasions,” US Virgin Islands said. They also show that Staley “played a role in JPMorgan’s compliance decisions with respect to Epstein,” the territory said.
Staley stepped down as Barclays CEO in November 2021 after the FCA shared with the lender the preliminary findings of their multi-year probe into what he told the bank’s board about his relationship with Epstein. Since then, Staley has been in the process of contesting those findings.
Barclays declined to comment on the request.
USVI Attorney General Denise George filed the suit last month in federal court in New York, saying that JPMorgan concealed “wire and cash transactions that raised suspicion of a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude” of women and girls in the territory. George was removed from her post several days later, reportedly for failing to report the suit to Governor Albert Bryan.
In addition to the USVI suit, JPMorgan was also sued by a woman who claims the bank facilitated Epstein’s sexual abuse of her and that it was aware Epstein used his JPMorgan accounts to settle sexual abuse lawsuits. The bank asked a judge to dismiss the suit, arguing, in part, that it fails to show it knew about Epstein’s abuse.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in 2019, after being arrested and charged with sex-trafficking. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted of similar charges in 2021. During her trial, a JPMorgan banker testified that Epstein wired Maxwell $31 million, money prosecutors characterized as her payment for procuring young girls for the financier.
The case is USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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