JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said in a deposition that he was not aware of an 2011 email from one of his top deputies advising that Jeffrey Epstein “should not be a client” of the New York bank.
The email, according to a lawyer who conducted the deposition, was sent by JPMorgan general counsel Stephen Cutler to two other executives who reported directly to Dimon: asset management head Mary Erdoes and then-investment banking boss Jes Staley.
“This is not an honorable person in any way,” Cutler wrote in the July 20, 2011 message, according to the lawyer conducting the deposition. “He should not be a client.”
Dimon said he wasn’t aware of the message “at the time” but “I know it today.”
The deposition of Dimon on Friday at JPMorgan’s headquarters in Manhattan was the first time the CEO faced a series of questions about what he knew about Epstein while the convicted sex predator was a longtime customer of the bank.
Two lawsuits from lawyers representing Epstein’s victims and the government of the US Virgin Islands have alleged JPMorgan ignored warnings about its client and facilitated his alleged sex trafficking.
The bank, in turn, has sued Staley, who got to know Epstein while running JPMorgan’s asset-management unit. JPMorgan claims Staley misled executives about Epstein. Staley’s lawyers have denied the allegations and Staley has said he never knew about Epstein’s alleged crimes.
During Dimon’s deposition, the CEO said repeatedly that he never met Epstein or talked to him. He also said he had no memory of being told anything about him by any of his executives.
The lawyer questioning Dimon showed Dimon another email sent by Cutler to Staley and Erdoes on July 21, 2011. “I would like to put it and him behind us,” Cutler wrote, according to the lawyer. “Not a person we should do business with, period.”
The lawyer told Dimon that Cutler, who was hired in 2006 but is no longer with JPMorgan, “testified under oath that Jes Staley and Mary Erdoes made the decision to retain Epstein as a customer of the bank.”
Dimon said of Cutler that he “had the ultimate authority to kick him out if he thought it had gone too far” and that “he was delegating reputational decisions to somebody else.”
Epstein, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution, was released as a client of JPMorgan in 2013.
Erdoes was the one who let Epstein go and has said in a separate deposition, according to media reports, that she did so because of concerns about Epstein’s large cash withdrawals.
“I recall not hearing about Jeffrey Epstein until about 2018 or sometime in 2019 when the story blew wide open,” Dimon said. “He was arrested, and all the stories came out about all the people he knows.”
Epstein was arrested in 2019 on child sex trafficking charges.
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