JPMorgan Chase & Co has sued Jes Staley, its former private banking head and later Barclays Plc’s chief executive, accusing him of entangling it with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and saying Staley himself had been accused of sexual assault.
The largest US bank filed two complaints on Wednesday night in Manhattan federal court, where it is also defending against lawsuits by the US Virgin Islands and an unnamed woman, Jane Doe 1, who say JPMorgan aided in Epstein’s sex trafficking by keeping him as a client.
JPMorgan said Staley should cover some or all damages if it were found liable, and pay punitive damages for his “intentional and outrageous conduct” in concealing information about Epstein and putting his own and Epstein’s interests above the bank’s.
The Wall Street bank also wants Staley to repay all compensation from 2006 to 2013. Based on industry standards, that amount could total tens of millions of dollars.
Staley is not a defendant in the Doe or US Virgin Islands lawsuits.
A lawyer for Staley did not immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours. Other media said a lawyer for Staley declined to comment.
Staley has acknowledged having been friendly with Epstein, but expressed regret for their relationship and denied knowing about the financier’s alleged crimes.
JPMorgan’s lawsuits attempt to shift blame to Staley, once considered a possible successor to Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, for allegedly helping shepherd the bank’s relationship with Epstein, a client from 2000 to 2013, and damage its reputation.
The complaints reference various claims in the earlier lawsuits, which JPMorgan has sought to dismiss.
These included Staley’s having allegedly “personally observed Doe as a sex trafficking and abuse victim,” and content from an estimated 1,200 emails that Staley and Epstein exchanged between 2008 and 2012, including some about young women that contained sexual content.
JPMorgan also referred to Doe’s accusation that “one of Epstein’s friends used aggressive force in his sexual assault of her and informed Jane Doe 1 that he had Epstein’s permission to do what he wanted to her.”
“Upon information and belief, Staley is this person, who she described as a ‘powerful financial executive’ she had historically been afraid to identify,” the bank said in its complaints.
Lawyers for Doe did not immediately respond to requests for comment after business hours.
Epstein reportedly killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Staley resigned as Barclays’ chief executive in November 2021 amid a dispute with British financial regulators examining his ties to Epstein.
Epstein’s victims are also suing Deutsche Bank AG, where Epstein was a client from 2013 to 2018. Deutsche Bank is seeking a dismissal.