A federal sex trafficking lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase and Deutsch Bank will be moving forward. The suit says that by supporting Epstein, they were complicit and involved in his sex trafficking crimes. The Virgin Islands government, where lots of offshore accounts are located, joined a handful of Epstein accusers as plaintiffs.

The suit harkens back to Epstein’s early days, before his first 2008 conviction in Florida. Epstein banked with JP Morgan from 1998 until 2013, and that same year, he also latched on to Deutsch Bank. The suit says that the banks knew they were likely complicit in sex trafficking, since they still took Epstein’s business after his 2008 conviction where he was found guilty, albeit on a more minor charge.

The federal court gave the green light for the case to go ahead, but it’s far from being won. Attorneys for the bank will make the argument that simple allegations should not mean that the bank knew they were committing a crime or aiding in the commitment of one. In 2008, Epstein only pleaded guilty for solicitation of a minor for prostitution. But it is a bank’s job to do further research, the evidence of deeper and more consequential criminality was there from the get-go. Just because a prosecutor ignores a heinous crime, doesn’t mean the bank is permitted to do so as well. Being educated about your client and the purpose of their business is a responsibility of the banks.

And keep in mind, this is a lawsuit, not a criminal case, so direct, exact knowledge of the extent of Epstein’s crimes doesn’t have to be proven. Just that there was reasonable evidence that they could be aware of those crimes.

Advocates for the victims and Virgin Islands government say the banks knowingly obstructed justice by violating The Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Assisting a trafficker, under that law, is also a violation of it.

Shockingly, this development hasn’t gotten much mainstream press attention, but we’ll make sure to follow it for ya.


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