LONDON (AP) — Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the German lender should have seen evidence of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein when he was a client, according to lawyers for women who say they were abused by the late financier.
A woman identified only as Jane Doe sued the bank in federal district court in New York and sought class action status to represent other victims of Epstein. The lawsuit claimed the bank knowingly profited from Epstein’s sex trafficking and ‘chose profit over following the law’ to make millions of dollars from the businessman.
One of the law firms representing the women in the case, Edwards Pottinger, said it was the largest sex trafficking settlement with a bank in US history.
“The settlement will allow dozens of Jeffrey Epstein survivors to finally attempt to restore their faith in our system knowing that all of the people and entities who facilitated Epstein’s sex trafficking operation will finally be held accountable.” the company said in a statement.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the settlement on Thursday, but did note a 2020 statement from the bank acknowledging its mistake in taking on Epstein as a client, said Frank Hartmann, the German lender’s global head of media relations.
“The Bank has invested more than 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) to strengthen controls, processes and training, and has hired more people to fight financial crime,” Hartmann said in a statement. written statement.
Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which also represents the plaintiffs, called the settlement an important step for victims’ rights.
“The scope and scale of Epstein’s abuse, and the many years it continued in plain sight, could not have happened without the collaboration and support of many powerful people and institutions,” he said. said David Boies, president of the company, in a statement.
Deutsche Bank previously joined JPMorgan Chase, who is also facing trial over his ties to Epstein, in the fight against the allegations. Epstein committed suicide in prison while facing federal criminal charges of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.
The German lender said late last year that it provided “routine banking services” to Epstein from 2013 to 2018 and that the lawsuit “does not come close to adequately alleging that Deutsche Bank … was part of Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”
The lawsuits – which also target the government of the US Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned an estate – attract leading personalities.
A US judge ruled last month that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon should face two days of questioning by prosecuting attorneys.
The Virgin Islands government is also trying to subpoena billionaire Elon Musk in its own litigation against JPMorgan, accusing the banking giant of allowing Epstein’s recruiters to pay victims and helping cover up his decades of sexual abuse.
JPMorgan has denied the allegations and in turn sued former executive Jes Staley, saying he hid Epstein’s abuse and trafficking to keep the financier as a client. A lawyer for Staley had no comment on the lawsuit when it was filed in March.