Deutsche Bank to pay $75M to settle lawsuit with Epstein victims

Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the German lender should have detected evidence of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein during his time as a client, according to lawyers representing the women who say they were abused by the late financier. The settlement resulted from a suit filed by a woman who was only identified as Jane Doe, seeking class-action status to represent other Epstein victims. She claimed that the bank knowingly benefitted from Epstein’s sex trafficking and “chose profit over following the law” to make millions from the businessman.

Edwards Pottinger, one of the law firms representing women in the case, stated that it considered it to be the largest sex trafficking settlement with a bank in U.S. history. In a statement, the firm said, “The settlement will allow dozens of survivors of Jeffrey Epstein to finally attempt to restore their faith in our system, knowing that all individuals and entities who helped facilitate Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation will finally be held accountable.”

Deutsche Bank did not comment on the settlement, but Frank Hartmann, the German lender’s global head of media relations, noted a 2020 statement from the bank admitting its mistake in taking on Epstein as a client, stating, “The Bank has invested more than 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) to bolster controls, processes and training, and hired more people to fight financial crime.”

The Boies Schiller Flexner law firm, which also represents plaintiffs, called the settlement an important step for victim’s rights. The firm’s chairman, David Boies, stated in a release, “The scope 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 individuals and institutions.”

Previously, Deutsche Bank, as well as JPMorgan Chase, which also faces Epstein-related lawsuits, had fought the allegations. Epstein committed suicide in prison while facing federal criminal charges of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

The German lender said last year that it had 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 had an estate, are drawing in some high-profile figures.

A US judge decided in August that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon must face up to two days of questioning in connection with the lawsuits. The Virgin Islands government is attempting to subpoena billionaire Elon Musk as part of its litigation against JPMorgan, accusing the banking giant of enabling Epstein’s recruiters to pay victims and helping conceal his decades of sex abuse. JPMorgan has denied the accusations and has sued former executive Jes Staley, claiming that he hid Epstein’s abuse and trafficking to retain him as a client. When the suit was filed in March, a lawyer for Staley declined to comment.

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