Jes Staley urged JPMorgan to keep Jeffrey Epstein as a client

Jes Staley pressed JPMorgan Chase to keep Jeffrey Epstein as a client – despite the disgraced financier being convicted of prostitution offenses – before the bank cut him off as a client in 2013, two people say involved in the discussions.

Staley presented the argument to other senior bank officials as JPMorgan considered whether Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting sex from a minor, which resulted in a 13-month prison sentence, was a reason to remove him as a client of his private bank, people said.

Staley, then head of JPMorgan’s investment bank, argued in the year before the bank dropped Epstein as a client that he had served his sentence and paid his debt to the company, said said one of the people.

JPMorgan declined to comment. A Staley spokesperson declined to comment.

Staley’s efforts to retain Epstein as a JPMorgan client shone a spotlight on their relationship, which forced Staley to resign as chief executive of Barclays in November.

He resigned after seeing the preliminary findings of an investigation by UK regulators into whether he had wrongly characterized his relationship with Epstein as purely professional. Staley disputes the findings and awaits the results of his appeal.

The Financial Times recently reported that the UK investigation uncovered 1,200 emails between the pair while Staley was at JPMorgan, with content including unexplained terms such as “snow white”.

Staley worked at JPMorgan for over 30 years. He developed ties with Epstein during his time as an executive in the bank’s asset management operations. Staley led JPMorgan’s private bank from 1999 to 2001. He then took over as head of the asset and wealth management business, which houses the private bank, from 2001 to 2009.

He was promoted to head the investment bank in 2009 and was in that role when talks to cut ties with Epstein were taking place. At that time, Mary Erdoes headed JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management division.

Staley left JPMorgan in January 2013 to join US hedge fund BlueMountain Capital. He became chief executive of Barclays in 2015.

JPMorgan’s decision to sever ties with Epstein came amid increased pressure on US banks from regulators over their anti-money laundering controls, with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a banking regulator, identifying compliance gaps from JPMorgan in early 2013.

When Epstein’s relationship with JPMorgan ended in 2013, he became a client of Deutsche Bank’s wealth management business, the FT reported.

Staley previously said her relationship with Epstein began to “fade” after he left JPMorgan. However, just months before joining Barclays, Staley sailed his yacht to Epstein’s private Caribbean island.

Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial for sexually assaulting underage girls.

Additional reporting by Stephen Morris in London

Comments are closed.