JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon looks on during the inauguration of the new French headquarters of US’ JP Morgan bank on June 29, 2021 in Paris.
Michel Euler | AFP | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testified last week that Mary Erdoes, a top executive at the bank who had concerns about sex predator Jeffrey Epstein, had the power to boot him as a long-time customer, according to a transcript of his deposition obtained by CNBC on Wednesday.
Dimon’s testimony Friday came after disclosures that Erdoes as early as 2006 was aware of suspicious transfers of money out of Epstein’s accounts, which two lawsuits now allege he used for the sex trafficking of young women.
Dimon also testified that JPMorgan’s then-general counsel Stephen Cutler had “the ultimate authority to kick him out if” issues surrounding Epstein “had gone too far.”
“He was delegating reputational decisions to somebody else” Dimon said.
During the deposition, Dimon was shown an email that Cutler sent Erdoes about Epstein on July 21, 2011.
In tjhat email, Cutler wrote: “I would like to put it and him behind us. Not a person we should do business with, period.”
Epstein was terminated as a customer in 2013, two years after that email and five years after he pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of soliciting sex from a minor. As a result of that conviction, he had to register as a sex offender.
Dimon also testified Friday he was not informed that Epstein was indicted in Florida for sex crimes in 2006, or of other concerns about him that others at the bank raised, the deposition reveals.
“I don’t recall knowing anything about Jeffrey Epstein until the stories broke sometime in 2019” Dimon said, referring to when Epstein was arrested on federal child sex trafficking charges.
“I was surprised that I didn’t even — had never even heard of the guy, pretty much. And how involved he was with so many people,” Dimon said.
A lawyer asked Dimon during the deposition: “As CEO of private [banking] or asset and wealth management, Mary Erdoes could have decided to terminate Jeffrey Epstein as a customer, as a client, of JPMorgan; is that right?”
Dimon answered, “I generally would say that’s true, yes.”
JPMorgan is accused in two lawsuits of enabling and benefiting from sex trafficking by Epstein.
One suit was filed by the government of the U.S Virgin Islands, where Epstein maintained a residence on a private island where he sexually abused multiple young women.
The other suit was filed by an Epstein accuser using the pseudonym Jane Doe, who is seeking to certify the complaint as a class action for other victims.
Dimon was deposed at JPMorgan’s headquarters in New York by lawyers for the plaintiffs, and for former bank executive Jes Staley, who JPMorgan argues is responsible for any civil liability a jury might find.
“I think what happened to these women is atrocious, and I’m horrified at the amount of human trafficking that takes place,” Dimon said when asked if the accusers of Epstein deserved an apology.
“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,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Wednesday that legal documents in the cases show that Staley discussed Epstein with Dimon over the years, including when Epstein was arrested in Florida in 2006 and when he pleaded guilty in that case two years later.
“Staley also said that Dimon communicated with him various times about whether to maintain Epstein as a client through 2012,” The Journal reported.
A JPMorgan spokeswoman in a statement about The Journal’s article said, “We believe this is false.”
“There is no evidence that any such communications ever occurred — nothing in the voluminous number of documents reviewed and nothing in the nearly dozen depositions taken, including that of our own CEO,” said Patricia Wexler, the spokeswoman.
Wexler later Friday told CNBC, “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,’ Wexler said.
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