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Jamie Dimon denies knowledge of JPMorgan concerns over Epstein in lawsuit deposition

<i>Marco Bello/Reuters</i><br/>Jamie Dimon
Marco Bello/Reuters
Jamie Dimon

By Lauren del Valle, CNN

New York (CNN) — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has denied knowing about internal reviews of Jeffrey Epstein’s criminal conduct and his account with the bank when they were happening.

Dimon made the remarks in a deposition for lawsuits against the bank related to its alleged role in Epstein’s sex trafficking crimes.

He sat for the deposition for about eight hours last Friday, according to a redacted transcript of it obtained by CNN.

The parties agreed to release the deposition transcript, which was initially confidential.

Attorneys for opposing parties in a collection of related lawsuits with JPMorgan, including a victim of Epstein, the government of the US Virgin Islands and former JPMorgan executive James “Jes” Staley pressed Dimon on his firsthand knowledge of Epstein’s affairs during his longtime relationship with the bank, which wasn’t severed until 2013.

An anonymous victim of Epstein working to bring a class action suit against the bank and the government of the US Virgin Islands are suing JPMorgan Chase for allegedly enabling and financially benefiting from Epstein’s sex trafficking crimes.

The financial institution has also sued Staley, known to be a friend to Epstein, alleging he is to blame for the bank’s 15-year relationship with Epstein. Staley has denied all wrongdoing alleged in the lawsuits.

Dimon testified that he had never personally met or spoken over the phone with Epstein.

The CEO, who’s been in executive leadership for over two decades, testified that he was not aware in real time of bank compliance evaluations of Epstein’s account and his criminal conduct dating back to 2006.

Dimon testified that he was not really aware of Epstein’s criminal history and relationship with the bank until he saw news stories in 2019 around the time of Epstein’s arrest on federal charges in New York.

“And the reason I remember that is I was surprised that I didn’t know about it before,” he said, according to the transcript.

Dimon did acknowledge that he’s now aware that some JPMorgan employees knew Epstein was charged with sex crimes involving cash and that he was moving large cash amounts in his bank accounts in 2007.

“When you say ‘JPMorgan knew,’ yes, there were people here who obviously knew some of that, yes,” he said.

Epstein was identified on an internal compliance list of high-risk clients with criminal records dated October 2006, the deposition transcript shows.

The chart indicated the reason Epstein was high-risk because: “Several newspaper articles were found that detail the indictment of Jeffrey Epstein in Florida on felony charges of soliciting underage prostitutes.”

The chart also noted that bank personnel opted to retain him as a client, according to the transcript.

Other records reviewed during the deposition show that compliance personnel and the bank’s legal team repeatedly evaluated Epstein’s status as a client but approved his account year after year.

Dimon testified that the bank’s general counsel would have had the final say to cut ties with a client like Epstein.

In a 2011 email referring to Epstein and reviewed during the deposition, JPMorgan’s then-general counsel, Steve Cutler wrote: “This is not an honorable person in any way. He should not be a client.”

Dimon said he didn’t know the bank’s lead attorney felt that way at the time.

Cutler testified in a deposition related to the ongoing litigation that Jes Staley and another executive running the bank’s asset and wealth management unit, Mary Erdoes, made the decision to retain Epstein as a customer, the transcript says.

According to Dimon, Staley and Erdoes could not have overridden the general counsel.

“Mr. Cutler had the ultimate authority to kick him out if he thought it had gone that far. He was delegating reputational decisions to somebody else,” Dimon said.

Attorney Brad Edwards, who represents an anonymous Epstein victim in her lawsuit against the bank, said it doesn’t matter which employee is at fault.

“What has become clear is that Epstein could not have run his sex trafficking operation without the valuable assistance of JPMorgan, Chase. Conveniently, each banker points a finger at the other, claiming this hot potato was someone else’s fault. Regardless how unbelievable the finger-pointing or purported lack of knowledge is, responsibility rests with the bank,” Edwards said in a statement to CNN.

While maintaining that the bank had not committed any crimes, Dimon said he wouldn’t mindapologizing to Epstein’s victims.

“I think what happened to these women is atrocious, and I’m horrified at the amount of human trafficking that takes place. And I wouldn’t mind personally apologizing to them, not because we committed the crime, we did not, and not because we believe we’re responsible, but that any potential thing, what little role that we could have eased it or helped catch it quicker or something like that, or get it to law enforcement quicker or get law enforcement to react to it quicker, which they obviously didn’t, you know, I would apologize to them for that, yes,” Dimon testified.

A JPMorgan spokesperson said in a Wednesday statement to CNN: “Had the Firm believed he was engaged in an ongoing sex trafficking operation, Epstein would not have been retained as client. In hindsight, we regret he was ever a client.”

Dimon was asked several questions during the deposition about an April interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow in which he said “Hindsight is a fabulous gift.” He was asked if he thought the bank should have terminated Epstein as a client years earlier.

He testified that he didn’t learn about most of the salacious details of Epstein’s affairs and JPMorgan’s awareness of the situation until he began to prepare for the deposition in connection with the lawsuits.

Dimon said he didn’t recall if he learned that lawyers and compliance employees at JPMorgan did not support retaining Epstein as a customer before the CNN interview.

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