Two women who say disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused them are suing major banks JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank, saying the institutions benefited financially from his alleged sex trafficking.
According to Reuters, the unnamed plaintiffs say the banks provided “the requisite financial support for the continued operation of Epstein’s international sex trafficking organization.
Two lawsuits were filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“Epstein’s sex-trafficking venture was not possible without the assistance and complicity of a financial institution — specifically, a banking institution — which provided his operation with an appearance of legitimacy and special treatment to the sex-trafficking venture, thereby ensuring its continued operation and sexual abuse and sex-trafficking of young women and girls,” the plaintiffs said.
BBC News cited a lawyer for the plaintiffs as adding: “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.”
A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank said: “We believe this claim lacks merit and will present our arguments in court.” JP Morgan Chase has not commented.
Epstein, a convicted pedophile who hobnobbed with countless politicians and celebrities over the years, was found dead in his cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked underage girls for sex. His death was later ruled a suicide.
Prosecutors said Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teens, some as young as 14.
Epstein — whose friends included Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew — had been convicted in 2008 in a Florida state court of paying young girls for sexual massages at his Palm Beach mansion.
Those men have all denied knowing anything about Epstein’s alleged crimes.
Earlier this year Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping him sexually abuse girls. The Oxford-educated daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell was convicted late last year on five of six counts, the most serious for sex trafficking minors.
During Maxwell’s high-profile trial in late 2021, prosecutors successfully proved that she was “the key” to Epstein’s scheme of enticing young girls to give him massages, during which he would sexually abuse them.
AFP contributed to this report.