Jeffrey Epstein used US Virgin Islands first lady to stay ‘unchecked’ in sex trafficking, JP Morgan claims in court filing

Jeffrey Epstein’s primary residence in the US Virgin Islands was on Little St. James, an island he owned.Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images; REUTERS/Marco Bello

  • JP Morgan wants to blame the US Virgin Islands on ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

  • A former first lady was “Epstein’s main channel” for local power, JP Morgan says in a new filing.

  • Epstein avoided surveillance – even though he was a registered sex offender – in exchange for money, according to JP Morgan.

New filings in the messy lawsuit between the US Virgin Islands and JP Morgan Chase over who bears responsibility for Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation are dragging former US Virgin Islands first lady Cecile de Jongh into the spotlight.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who is overseeing the lawsuit, ordered the estate of Jeffrey Epstein to produce all emails and other documents referring to de Jongh to JP Morgan, which is defending itself in the lawsuit. On the same day, JP Morgan alleged in its own filings that de Jongh was “Epstein’s main conduit for spreading money and influence throughout the USVI government.”

“Unequivocally, a political culture was fostered within the local Virgin Islands Democratic Party that allowed Epstein to go unchecked in return for his sponsorship and financial contributions,” JP Morgan claims in the filing.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against JP Morgan in December, alleging the financial institution “pulled the levers” of Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, and his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in 2021 of trafficking girls to rape.

According to the US Virgin Islands lawsuit, Epstein’s JP Morgan accounts were used to pay his victims and cover up wrongdoing. The bank ignored “red flag” laws that would have allowed them to arrest Epstein earlier, the suit claims.

In its own filings, JP Morgan says the US Virgin Islands should have used its own surveillance powers to arrest Epstein and was ‘eager’ to seek more damages after already securing more than $100 million in a settlement with Epstein’s estate.

Epstein had close ties to local Democratic party, JP Morgan says

Epstein “maintained a quid pro quo relationship with top USVI officials” giving them cash and political favors in exchange for millions of dollars in tax incentives, and for them looking the other way when he brought girls to his private island, according to JP Morgan’s New File.

At the center of Epstein’s ties to government officials, according to JP Morgan, was de Jongh, who served as first lady when her husband, John de Jongh Jr., was governor of the US Virgin Islands between 2007 and 2015.

Cécile de Jongh did not immediately respond to a request for comment after Insider reached out to her rep. Much of the details of his work for Epstein are removed from the record.

She had worked for the Southern Trust Company, a company Epstein allegedly used for his sex trafficking business, as well as one of Epstein’s philanthropic foundations.

According to the new JP Morgan filing, de Jongh worked for Epstein while also serving as first lady and managed Epstein’s companies “despite her public role and official duties.” The political donations she has facilitated, according to JP Morgan, “come with strings attached.”

According to the filing, Epstein also fostered relationships with Kenneth Mapp, who served as governor between 2015 and 2019, as well as Albert Bryan, the current governor, who is expected to be deposed for trial on January 6. Neither Mapp nor a rep for Bryan immediately responded to requests for comment on their alleged relationship with Epstein.

jeffrey epstein island

Jeffrey Epstein’s Little St. James Island.United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York

Epstein raised money for Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who is a nonvoting delegate and who has represented the U.S. Virgin Islands in Congress since 2015, and served as House leader in former President Donald’s second impeachment trial. Trump. (Plaskett has since said she donated those funds to nonprofits supporting women and children and called Epstein’s conduct “despicable.”)

In a partially unredacted transcript of a deposition she took in May, Plaskett recounted her trip to Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse until 2018 – more than a decade after he was named sex offender and about a year before his arrest by federal prosecutors.

JP Morgan alleges Epstein’s powerful ties to the US Virgin Islands’ political establishment meant they effectively ignored his status as a registered sex offender, which followed his 2007 guilty plea to solicitation in Florida.

“In sum, in exchange for Epstein’s money and gifts, the USVI made his life easier,” the new filing claims. “The government eased any burdens of his sex offender status. And he made sure no one asked too many questions about him transporting and keeping young girls on his island.”

A U.S. Virgin Islands government spokesman said JP Morgan’s new filing is “a clear attempt to shift blame” on the bank.

“JPMorgan Chase facilitated the abuse of Jeffrey Epstein and should be held accountable for breaking the law,” the spokesperson said.

JP Morgan has also filed a lawsuit against Jes Staley, a former JP Morgan executive who formed close ties to Epstein, alleging he should bear sole responsibility for any wrongdoing. On Wednesday, Rakoff allowed the lawsuit against Staley to move forward, dismissing his attempts to dismiss him.

The US Virgin Islands settled its separate sex trafficking case with Epstein’s estate in December, with the estate agreeing to hand over $105 million and part of the proceeds from the sale of the deceased pedophile’s island residences. The Islands sold for $60 million in May.

Stephen Deckoff, the financier who bought them, said he planned to turn them into a resort.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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