JPMorgan Chase’s head said he never met or heard of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein until his arrest in 2019. He also claimed he was unaware of the bank’s internal investigation into its relationship with Epstein who spent 15 years at the bank.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase , was deposed by attorneys for plaintiffs who are suing the bank for its alleged role as an enabler of Epstein’s prostitution. Also present were lawyers for a former Chase executive that the nation’s biggest bank accuses of prolonging their ties with Epstein. Epstein, who had pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting minors for prostitution, committed suicide in jail after being re-arrested on charges of trafficking.
According to the transcript, Dimon stated that he “had never heard of him, or even seen him, before the news broke in 2019” and was “surprised I hadn’t even known about the guy.” He also expressed surprise at how many people he had been involved with.
Dimon replied, “Not to my knowledge,” when asked by a lawyer if he’d ever heard the name Jeffrey Epstein before his arrest in 2019.
Chase was sued by The U.S. Virgin Islands, and “Jane Doe 1”, a victim identified as Epstein’s over its links to Epstein who deposited money in the bank between 1998 and 2013. The financial institution denies liability.
The U.S. Virgin Islands claimed in its complaint that “JPMorgan knew about Epstein’s banking relationship at the highest levels within the bank.” It referred to an internal email from August 2008 which stated, “I’d count Epstein assets as a possible outflow for ’08 ($120mm, or so)?” As I can’t believe it will remain (pending Dimon review).
Dimon stated in the transcript that no one at the bank informed him that Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting minors in Florida in 2008, but according to the transcript Dimon did not testify that anyone in the bank had told him that Epstein entered a guilty pleading. Dimon also said that he was unaware of the fact that, in 2008, JPMorgan Chase reviewed Epstein’s status as a customer because of his guilty plea.
Dimon claimed that former bank general counsel Steve Cutler was the “ultimate decision maker” when it came to keeping Epstein on as a client. He also said that Cutler “had the power” to override other bank executives’ decisions. Cutler, Dimon said, “had the authority to kick him [Epstein] out” if he felt it had gotten that far.
Cutler was appointed general counsel at JPMorgan Chase by Dimon in 2007. He served for nine years. He was the global head of legal and compliance for JPMorgan Chase and reported directly to Dimon.
Cutler sent an e-mail about Epstein in 2011 to Mary Erdoes who is now the head of asset management and wealth at JPMorgan Chase and Jes Stealey then the head of JPMorgan Chase’s private bank which was dedicated to wealthy customers like Epstein.
Cutler told Dimon that Epstein “was not an honorable man in any way,” and “he shouldn’t be his client,” according to the transcript. A Virgin Islands attorney read Dimon the email during his interrogation.
Dimon replied that he was “not aware at the time” about the email.
The transcript shows that Cutler “tried to testify under oath” that Jes Erdoes and Mary Staley made the decision for Epstein to be retained as a client of the Virgin Islands bank.
According to the transcript, Dimon was also asked by the same attorney if “Mary Erdoes, CEO of JPMorgan’s private bank, asset and wealth management or as CEO of JPMorgan’s private bank, could have decided to terminate Jeffrey Epstein, as a JPMorgan client, is that correct?”
Dimon replied, “I would generally say that is true, yes.”
Dimon stated that he respected and trusted Cutler and Erdoes and that “they both tried to do the right thing.”
In a statement released Wednesday night, a JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman said that if the firm had believed Epstein was involved in a sex-trafficking operation in progress, he would not have been retained. In retrospect, we regret that he ever was a client.
Cutler didn’t immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment. Erdoes refused to comment via a Chase spokesperson.
In March, the bank filed a lawsuit against Staley, claiming that he “obstructed” their efforts to break ties with Epstein while he was at the bank. A federal judge rejected Staley’s motion in May to dismiss the complaint by the bank.
Dimon denied that he spoke to Staley regarding Epstein. David Boies, an attorney for Jane Doe asked Dimon to explain a message sent by an assistant in 2010 asking Epstein about his food preferences before an evening meeting with “Jes” and Jamie.
Dimon stated, “I’ve never met Jeff Epstein.” “I’ve never met Jeff Epstein. I never knew Jeff Epstein. I never visited Jeff Epstein. Jeff Epstein and I have never eaten together.
Dimon testified that Staley could have known about Epstein’s misconduct.
Staley spent over 30 years at JPMorgan Chase before leaving to join Barclays. After a probe of his relationship with Epstein, he resigned as Barclays CEO in 2021. Staley expressed regret in the past for his association with Epstein.