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Deutsche Bank agrees to $75M settlement in Epstein abuse lawsuit

Bank resolves class action by Epstein's accusers, denying wrongdoing but taking responsibility

Source: Reuters

Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit by women who say they were abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and accused the German bank of facilitating his sex trafficking.

The accord resolves claims in a proposed class action in Manhattan federal court by Epstein's accusers and was confirmed by their lawyers late on Wednesday. Court approval is required.

Epstein had been a Deutsche Bank client from 2013 to 2018. He died in August 2019 in jail while awaiting trial for sex trafficking, in what New York City's medical examiner called a suicide.

The Wall Street Journal reported the settlement earlier and said the bank did not admit wrongdoing, citing people familiar with the matter.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Dylan Riddle declined to discuss the accord but referred to a 2020 statement in which the bank acknowledged an error in making Epstein a client.

He also said Deutsche Bank has invested more than 4 billion euros to bolster its controls, processes and training, and hired more people to fight financial crime.

David Boies, one of the accusers' lawyers, said in a statement that Epstein's abuses "could not have happened without the collaboration and support of many powerful individuals and institutions. We appreciate Deutsche Bank's willingness to take responsibility for its role."

The law firms Boies Schiller Flexner and Edwards Pottinger represent Epstein's accusers. A trial had been scheduled for Sept. 5.

It wasn't immediately clear how the settlement might affect JPMorgan Chase & Co, which faces similar but larger lawsuits by Epstein's accusers and by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the financier had a home.

Epstein was a JPMorgan client from 1998 to 2013, a period when he allegedly trafficked many more women and girls. Court papers have outlined many details about the bank's alleged ignoring or turning a blind eye to Epstein's activities.

JPMorgan did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside business hours.

It is separately suing Jes Staley, a former private banking chief who had been friendly with Epstein, to help cover its losses in the two lawsuits it faces.

Staley is also a former Barclays Plc chief executive. Tesla Inc's Elon Musk is among those who have been subpoenaed in the JPMorgan litigation.

The Deutsche Bank case was led by an unidentified plaintiff, known as Jane Doe 1, who said Epstein sexually abused her from 2003 to 2018.

A different Jane Doe 1, a former ballet dancer who said Epstein trafficked her from 2006 to 2013, is leading the accusers' case against JPMorgan.

Last September, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $26.25 million to settle a U.S. shareholder lawsuit accusing the bank of lax oversight while doing business with risky, ultra-rich clients like Epstein.

The case is Jane Doe 1 v Deutsche Bank AG et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-10018.

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