NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has testified that he never heard of Jeffrey Epstein and his crimes against teenage girls and young women until the financier was arrested in 2019, according to a transcript of the videotaped deposition released Wednesday.
Dimon said he first heard about it “when the story blew wide open. He was arrested, and all the stories came out about all the people he knows. And the reason I remember that is I was surprised that I didn’t know about it before.”
Asked by a lawyer if he’d ever heard the name Jeffrey Epstein before the arrest, Dimon responded, “Not that I recall.”
Dimon made the revelation during a deposition recorded Friday in New York in connection with lawsuits filed against the nation’s largest bank.
The lawsuits on behalf of Epstein victims and the U.S. Virgin Islands in Manhattan federal court seek to hold JPMorgan financially liable for Epstein’s decadeslong abuse of teenage girls and young women.
The bank, besides denying the allegations, has sued one of its former executives, saying the man hid Epstein’s crimes to keep Epstein as a client.
Epstein was 66 in August 2019 when he apparently killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail cell where he awaited a federal sex trafficking trial after his application for bail was denied. He had pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually abused dozens of girls, some as young as 14.
According to the lawsuits filed late last year, JPMorgan provided Epstein loans and regularly allowed him to withdraw large sums of cash from 1998 through August 2013 even though it knew about his sex trafficking practices.
The 416-page deposition, portions of which were heavily redacted with entire pages blacked out, was released publicly through an agreement among lawyers in the cases.
Confronted at the deposition with an email from Epstein’s former assistant suggesting that Dimon was scheduled to meet with Epstein as far back as 2010, the president and chairman of JPMorgan insisted it was untrue.
“I have never had an appointment with Jeff Epstein. I’ve never met Jeff Epstein. I never knew Jeff Epstein. I never went to Jeff Epstein’s house. I never had a meal with Jeff Epstein. I have no idea what they’re referring to here,” he said.
After the email from Epstein’s assistant asking whether “heavy snacks” or dinner should be prepared for the meeting, Epstein responded “snacks.”
As Dimon responded to being confronted with the email, a lawyer noted that Epstein did not respond by saying, “you’re misinformed, Jamie Dimon is not coming.”
Dimon said, “I don’t know what he thought at the time. He was obviously misinformed. I never — this never took place.”
“I don’t think Jeff Epstein ever arranged for me to meet with anybody, to my knowledge,” he said.
Dimon denied knowing anything about efforts at the bank in 2006 and 2011 to curtail its dealings with Epstein as he faced criminal charges in Florida. After pleading guilty to state charges there, Epstein spent 13 months in jail and paid settlements to victims.
“After he pleaded guilty to the crime he pleaded guilty to, he — we unfortunately continued to bank him, yes,” Dimon said, according to the deposition.
Epstein had a close relationship with Jes Staley, who ran multiple parts of JPMorgan, including its investment bank and wealth management arm, until Staley left the bank in 2013. Staley went on to become CEO of the British bank Barclays, but had to step down from that job when the Epstein indictment was revealed.
JPMorgan is trying to make Staley a defendant in its Epstein legal cases, arguing that he downplayed or hid the issues with Epstein.
At one point in the deposition, Dimon agreed that Epstein was a “disaster” and “terrible” for the bank.
“I think what happened to these women is atrocious, and I’m horrified at the amount of human trafficking that takes place,” he said.
“And I wouldn’t mind personally apologizing to them, not because we committed the crime, we did not, and not because we believe we’re responsible. But that any potential thing, what little role that we could have eased it or helped catch it quicker or something like that, or get it to law enforcement quicker or get law enforcement to react to it quicker, which they obviously didn’t, you know, I would apologize to them for that, yes,” he said.
Throughout the deposition, Dimon insisted that whether to keep Epstein as a client would have ultimately been left up to the company’s general counsel.
Dimon was asked, “If you had known in 2010 that Jeffrey Epstein was a sex trafficker, that Jeffrey Epstein was a client of the bank, that Jeffrey Epstein was withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars of cash every month, would you, as the chief executive officer of the bank, said, ‘We need to get rid of this guy,’ regardless of whether the general counsel told you that that was the right thing to do?”
“I think everyone involved, had they known then what is known today, including me, would have taken that position,” he answered.