JPMorgan Chase & Co. accused the former first lady of the US Virgin Islands of aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking in a number of ways, including helping to arrange visas, jobs and travel for some of his victims and assisting him in skirting the territory’s sex-offender monitoring law.
(Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. accused the former first lady of the US Virgin Islands of aiding Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking in a number of ways, including helping to arrange visas, jobs and travel for some of his victims and assisting him in skirting the territory’s sex-offender monitoring law.
According to the bank, Cecile de Jongh, the wife of former USVI Governor John de Jongh, was Epstein’s “primary conduit for spreading money and influence throughout the USVI government.”
She managed Epstein’s USVI companies, receiving $200,000 in compensation in 2007 alone, and he also paid tuition for her children, JPMorgan contends. She in turn “explicitly advised Epstein on how to buy control of the USVI political class,” the bank said.
The bank made the allegations in a Thursday court filing that was a less-redacted version of one it filed earlier in the week. The filing was made in opposition to USVI’s motion to block JPMorgan from arguing an “unclean hands” defense to the territory’s lawsuit accusing the bank of knowingly benefiting from Epstein’s sex trafficking.
Read More: USVI Seeks to Bar JPMorgan’s ‘Unclean Hands’ Epstein Defense
A spokeswoman for the USVI attorney general’s Office said the latest filing was an obvious attempt to shift blame away from JPMorgan, “which had a legal responsibility to report the evidence in its possession of Epstein’s human trafficking.”
De Jongh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to JPMorgan’s lawyers, de Jongh helped obtain student visas for three young women connected to Epstein, arranging their enrollment at the University of the Virgin Islands. “Perhaps cognizant of the risk in having a registered sex offender sign the letter,” the first lady offered to have someone else to sign letters for the women showing their ability to pay tuition, the bank said.
Epstein donated heavily to USVI politicians and the government itself, according to the filing. That included $30,000 to the campaign of Representative Stacey Plaskett, the USVI’s non-voting delegate to Congress, a $25,000 gift to current Governor Albert Bryan’s inaugural committee and donations to a school library. De Jongh also suggested that Epstein put USVI Senator Celestino White on “some sort of monthly retainer” to get loyalty and access, the filing states.
De Jongh additionally acted as a conduit between Epstein and the USVI Port Authority, which managed the airport Epstein used.
‘Will It Work for You?’
“Based on his government connections, when traveling through the USVI’s airport accompanied by young women as a registered sex offender, Epstein could count on his ‘great relationship’ with the officials there to avoid scrutiny or detection,” the filing states. In 2010, Epstein emailed de Jongh to complain about a “difficult” customs officer at the airport. Two years later, he asked her about the possibility of sending all 78 customs officers turkeys for Thanksgiving.
In 2011, De Jongh and Epstein also communicated about the wording of a bill before the USVI legislature to increase monitoring of sex offenders. Epstein was registered as a sex offender following his 2008 conviction in Florida for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
“This is the suggested language; will it work for you?” de Jongh allegedly asked Epstein in an email about the draft. When the bill subsequently passed, she apologized to him for “how things panned out,” JPMorgan claims.
“However, all is not lost and we will figure something out by coming up with a game plan to get around these obstacles,” she wrote, according to the bank. JPMorgan alleges that de Jongh then “crafted a plan to facilitate Epstein’s easy travel to and from the USVI” by working with specific politicians and officials in the territory.
The case is USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(Updates with detail from court filing, comment from USVI)
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