By Katabella Roberts
Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by alleged sexual abuse victims of disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, lawyers have confirmed.
The settlement resolves a class-action suit filed by two women, referred to as “Jane Doe” against the banks in November last year.
New York federal judge Jed Rakoff ruled in March that the two women could try to make their claims that Deutsche Bank had enabled Epstein to traffic his victims, or more specifically, that the bank, “knowingly benefited from participating in a sex-trafficking venture,” “obstructed enforcement of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act,” and “negligently failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent physical harm.”
Rakoff also ruled that the victims could pursue a claim that the bank “negligently failed to exercise reasonable care as a banking institution providing non-routine banking.”
David Boies and Brad Edwards, lawyers for the women who brought the case, said that the settlement—which needs to be approved by a federal judge—will see $75 million made available to more than 125 victims of Epstein who had previously received payouts from a restitution fund established by his estate following his death.
“This groundbreaking settlement is the culmination of two law firms conducting more than a decade-long investigation to hold one of Epstein’s financial banking partners responsible for the role it played in facilitating his trafficking organization,” Boies and Edwards, who work at separate firms, said in a joint statement to The New York Times.
Dylan Riddle, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, declined to comment on the settlement.
However, in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Riddle said the bank has invested more than 4 billion euros ($4.34 billion) to bolster internal training and financial controls. The bank has also increased the number of employees dedicated to fighting financial crime, he said.
Women Accuse Banks of Enabling Epstein
“In recent years Deutsche Bank has made considerable progress in remedying a number of past issues,” Riddle said.
Epstein, 66, died in a New York City jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
He had been a client of Deutsche Bank from 2013 to 2018.
In their lawsuits (pdf), the two women had claimed that Epstein sexually abused them, and also accused Deutsche Bank as well as JPMorgan Chase & Co of aiding his sex trafficking operation by maintaining a financial relationship with him because he was a high-profile client.
“Epstein’s sex-trafficking venture was not possible without the assistance and complicity of a financial institution—specifically, a banking institution—which provided his operation with an appearance of legitimacy and special treatment to the sex-trafficking venture, thereby ensuring its continued operation and sexual abuse and sex-trafficking of young women and girls,” lawyers for the women wrote in the Deutsche Bank lawsuit.
The lawsuit stated that Deutsche Bank aided Epstein in circumventing banking laws to “make profits from Epstein’s widely known sex trafficking venture.”
At the time the lawsuit was filed, a Deutsche Bank spokesman told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement, “We believe this claim lacks merit and will present our arguments in court.”
JPMorgan Chase is also facing a similar lawsuit bought by the U.S. Virgin Islands.