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Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan sued by Epstein accusers

Farah Bahgat
November 24, 2022

Plaintiffs are accusing the financial institutions of "enabling" Jeffrey Epstein's sex crimes. Deutsche Bank has been previously under the spotlight over its ties with ultra-rich clients.

Entry to Deutsche Bank's New York branch
New York finance officials have already slammed Deutsche Bank for 'inexcusably' failing to detect suspicious transactions related to EpsteinImage: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx/picture alliance

Class action suits accusing Deutsche Bank AG and JP Morgan Chase of "enabling" notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein were filed at a New York court, lawyers said on Thursday. 

The complaint comes two years after New York authorities found Deutsche Bank to have allowed many "suspicious" transactions despite knowing Epstein's criminal history. 

Epstein "could not have victimized without assistance from wealthy individuals and financial institutions," according to Bradley Edwards, one of the lawyers filing Wednesday's suits.

"The time has come for the real enablers to be held responsible, especially his wealthy friends and the financial institutions that played an integral role," Edwards said in a statement sent to DW.

"These victims were wronged, by many, not just Epstein." 

US media outlets, including Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, quoted a Deutsche Bank spokesperson as saying that the accusations "lack merit."

What we know about the lawsuits

Two separate lawsuits accused the financial institutions of knowingly benefiting and receiving things "of value for assisting, supporting, facilitating, and otherwise providing the most critical service for the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking organization."

The suit against Deutsche Bank's New York branch pointed to findings from a probe by New York's financial authorities into the bank's relationship with Epstein. In 2020, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) found that Deutsche Bank "inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions" related to Epstein. 

The suit against JPMorgan cited UK investigations into the relationship between Epstein and a former senior executive at the investment bank.

Deutsche Bank's ties with ultra-rich clients under the spotlight

In September, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $26.25 million (€25.2 million) to settle a New York legal dispute over its ties with ultra-rich clients

A group of shareholders had accused the bank of lax oversight of clients like Epstein and Russian oligarchs. 

In the settlement, the bank denied any wrongdoing, according to Reuters news agency. 

New York's financial authorities had also ordered Deutsche Bank to pay a $150 million fine in 2020 over its relationship with Epstein. 

A string of cases linked to Epstein has emerged since his death in 2019 in what authorities ruled was a suicide. 

In February, the UK's Prince Andrew agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, who said she met the prince through Epstein. 

The latest cases against JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank come as New York state officials prepare for a wave of sex abuse lawsuits, as the usual deadlines for such complaints were lifted on Thursday.