Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75 million (€69 million) to settle a proposed class-action lawsuit that alleged the German bank had benefited from supporting Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking racket, lawyers confirmed late on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed by women in November 2022 who said they were abused by Epstein. They alleged that the bank was aware of his sex trafficking activity and still continued to do business with him, which facilitated their abuse.
The Wall Street Journal reported the settlement which still needs the court's approval. Citing sources privy to the matter, the paper reported that the German lender did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
David Boies, one of the victims' lawyers, said in a statement that Epstein's abuses "could not have happened without the collaboration and support of many powerful individuals and institutions. We appreciate Deutsche Bank's willingness to take responsibility for its role."
Deutsche Bank's spokesman Dylan Riddle declined to comment on the settlement but referenced a 2020 statement where the bank admitted their mistake of making Epstein a client.
"We acknowledge our error of onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and shortcomings," Deutsche Bank said in July 2020.
The impact on JP Morgan Chase
Epstein, an US financier, had remained a Deutsche Bank client from 2013 to 2018 and died by suicide in prison in August 2019 while awaiting his trial.
Before Deutsche Bank, he was a client with JP Morgan Chase from 1998 to 2013 during which time he had allegedly trafficked many more underage girls.
The Deutsche Bank accord could have an impact on JP Morgan Chase which faces similar but larger lawsuits against it.
The American firm has lawsuits filed against it by Epstein's accusers and by the US Virgin Islands, where the financier had a home.
Not only has JP Morgan Chase denied the allegations but has also filed its own suit against a former executive for his close ties to Epstein.
mf/rs (AFP, Reuters)