Jamie Dimon, the longtime chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, will be interviewed under oath over his bank’s decision to retain the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as a client, said people familiar with the matter.
The sworn deposition, due to take place behind closed doors in May, is the latest development in two high-profile cases brought against the largest US bank by an alleged Epstein victim and the US Virgin Islands, where the disgraced financier had a home.
The lawsuits claim JPMorgan, which banked Epstein for 15 years from 1998 to 2013, benefited from human trafficking and ignored several internal warnings about its client’s illegal behaviour. The lender has described the claims as meritless.
The pre-trial process unearthed communications between JPMorgan employees that contained a reference to a “Dimon review” into the bank’s relationship with Epstein. The bank has denied that its CEO had any knowledge of such a review.
A person familiar with the bank’s internal probe said there was no record found of Dimon being in direct communication with Epstein or being included in any discussion over retaining him as a client.
JPMorgan declined to comment.
Lawyers for JPMorgan had previously resisted attempts to depose Dimon and had tried to limit the range of documents handed over during the pre-trial process.
Last week, Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the cases, denied in part JPMorgan’s request to dismiss the lawsuits and allowed some of the claims against the bank — as well as some against Deutsche Bank, which is being sued separately by an alleged Epstein victim — to proceed.
He later ordered JPMorgan to hand over documents containing communications involving Dimon and former general counsel Steve Cutler from before 2006, the year that Epstein was first arrested.
A provisional trial date for both cases has been set for October.
Dimon’s looming deposition comes after other senior figures at the bank, including Mary Erdoes, the head of the bank’s $4tn asset and wealth management business, were scheduled to be interviewed by plaintiffs’ lawyers as part of the lawsuits.
Former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley is also set to be deposed by his former employer’s lawyers in April, after the US bank countersued him for any potential damages. JPMorgan’s complaint claims Staley witnessed and participated in sex crimes at Epstein’s residences, and alleges he did not disclose this “despite having a fiduciary duty” to do so.
Staley has repeatedly denied any involvement in Epstein’s illegal activities.
The bank is trying to claw back more than $80mn of pay from Staley, one of the largest such attempts in US history.
Dimon was originally scheduled to be deposed in April as well, but JPMorgan’s lawyers argued for his interview to take place after Staley’s, said a person familiar with the matter.
Staley, who later became head of London-based Barclays bank, has denied any involvement in Epstein’s crimes. Earlier this month, Barclays’ board acknowledged in a notice ahead of its annual meeting in May that the recent allegations against their former chief executive were “serious and new”.
Staley left Barclays in 2021 to “contest” the results of an investigation by UK regulators that concluded he had mischaracterised his relationship with Epstein.
Read the full article here