Ex-Barclays Bank boss Jes Staley, who called his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein “profound,” may still be on the hook if JPMorgan Chase is found liable for knowingly profiting from the predator’s sex trafficking, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.
JPMorgan has been fighting lawsuits from the Virgin Islands government and Epstein survivors seeking damages over their relationship with Epstein, who banked there between 1998 and 2013.
In March, JPMorgan sued Staley — who served as that bank’s ex-senior executive in charge of the investment and private banking divisions — in a third-party complaint accusing him of having “concealed his personal activities” with Epstein. The lawsuit seeks a judgment ordering Staley to indemnify the megabank and contribute his share of damages.
Staley claimed JPMorgan’s suit simply “sought to change the narrative and deflect blame,” without a legal basis. JPMorgan was sued under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and Staley’s attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. argued that the statute doesn’t afford a right to contribution or indemnification.
Senior U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, a harsh critic of Wall Street, rejected that argument in a brief order.
“After full consideration of the parties’ written submissions and oral arguments, the Court hereby denies Mr. Staley’s motion in full,” Rakoff wrote, promising to explain his reasoning in a future opinion.
After Staley’s tenure at JPMorgan, he moved on to become CEO of Barclays, where he remained until his resignation amid an investigation into his Epstein ties. The JPMorgan litigation has cast that scandal into sharp relief, giving the public its first glimpse into the 1,200 emails Staley and Epstein exchanged over a four-year period.
In one, Staley allegedly fired off a message from Epstein’s private island Little St. James on Nov. 1, 2009, when Epstein was incarcerated in Florida.
“So when all hell breaks lo[o]se, and the world is crumbling, I will come here, and be at peace,” the email said. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine. This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”
Though the photographs are redacted in the lawsuit, Epstein sent Staley images of a young woman in a “sexually suggestive pose” — and sent money to young women timed close to Staley’s visits to his properties, court documents indicate.
Judge Rakoff said that Staley stands accused of having “abused some of Epstein’s victims,” including the lead plaintiff in the survivors’ lawsuit. He has not been criminally charged in connection with Epstein’s victims.
Staley’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request to Law&Crime’s request for comment. JPMorgan’s representative declined to comment.
Read the ruling here.
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