JPMorgan Chase is resisting attempts by lawyers to question Jamie Dimon under oath in litigation over the US bank’s decision to retain Jeffrey Epstein as a client for 15 years, although it has agreed for one of its longtime chief executive’s key lieutenants to be deposed.
In documents filed to a New York court on Tuesday, lawyers for the lender — which faces related lawsuits from an Epstein victim and the US Virgin Islands, where the late sex offender had a home — said they did not believe Dimon was an “appropriate deponent”.
Lawyers for JPMorgan did agree to find a date in March for a deposition of Mary Erdoes, the head of JPMorgan’s asset and wealth management division, where Epstein was a client. Erdoes remains one of the bank’s top executives.
They also agreed to find a date for lawyers to interview Mary Casey, another private banker at JPMorgan in the period before the lender eventually dropped Epstein as a client in 2013.
The developments come in two fast-moving civil cases that allege JPMorgan knowingly facilitated Epstein’s pay-offs to victims and accomplices who helped him recruit young girls.
Just days earlier, lawyers for both plaintiffs asked the court to compel JPMorgan to hand over more documents detailing Dimon’s communications, alleging that he played a role in deciding to keep banking Epstein despite numerous internal red flags about human trafficking.
An internal email cited by the US Virgin Islands’ complaint earlier this month reads: “I would count Epstein’s assets as a probable outflow for ’08 ($120mn or so?) as I can’t imagine it will stay (pending Dimon review).”
Last week, JPMorgan said: “We have found no evidence of, nor does [Dimon] recall, such a review.”
In its response filed to the court on Tuesday, JPMorgan claimed Dimon was “not relevant” to the US Virgin Islands’ case and added “he was not involved in any decisions regarding Epstein’s account”.
It said expanding the range of communications the bank was required to hand over “would increase the number of documents captured” by search terms “from at least 364,000 to at least 694,000”.
The filings on Tuesday also contained claims from lawyers for the US Virgin Islands that Jes Staley, the former JPMorgan executive who went on to lead UK bank Barclays, was personally involved in the decision to keep Epstein on as a client in 2008, even after Epstein was arrested for soliciting a minor in Florida.
The lawyers cited an internal JPMorgan exchange in which it was noted: “Jes Staley conferred with [then JPMorgan general counsel] Stephen Cutler and the decision was made to keep him . . . as a [private banking] client.”
They added Cutler “also was included in at least one rapid response meeting related to new information regarding Epstein’s human trafficking”.
Internal emails noted Epstein “will require re-approval by Steve Cutler if it is determined that the relationship will be retained”, according to an exchange cited in court filings.
JPMorgan declined to comment. Cutler and a lawyer for Staley did not respond to a request for comment.