A former JPMorgan executive wrote in a 2011 email that the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein should not be a client of the bank, according to a transcript of a deposition of Chief Executive Jamie Dimon seen by Reuters.
Dimon said in the deposition he was not aware of the email at the time but "I know it today."
Dimon also said that if the bank had known in the past what is known today about Epstein - citing, in particular, his arrest in 2019 and the 2020 conviction of his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell on charges including sex trafficking - that he would have been terminated as a client.
The largest U.S. bank faces lawsuits seeking damages by women who claim that Epstein sexually abused them, and by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the late financier had a home.
Epstein was a JPMorgan client from 2000 to 2013, remaining so after pleading guilty in 2008 to a Florida state prostitution charge.
In Dimon's May 26 deposition, he was asked about the email former general counsel Stephen Cutler sent to other executives, including former private banking chief Jes Staley and Mary Erdoes, now head of asset and wealth management, calling Epstein "not a person we should do business with, period."
"This is not an honorable person in any way," Cutler wrote. "He should not be a client."
The email was read by a lawyer for the Virgin Islands
during questioning, according to the transcript. Reuters has not seen the email itself.
"Had the firm believed he was engaged in an ongoing sex trafficking operation, Epstein would not have been retained as a client," a JPMorgan spokesperson said in a statement. "In hindsight, we regret he was ever a client."
Cutler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
David Boies, a lawyer for the woman known as Jane Doe who is suing the bank, said in a statement that the deposition "confirms that people at the hugest level within JP Morgan, including its general counsel, recognized that the bank was complicit in providing banking services to Epstein, but nevertheless continued to do so."
In the deposition, Dimon also repeatedly denied speaking about Epstein with Staley, who was friendly with Epstein. The bank is suing Staley, arguing he should be held liable for any damages JPMorgan is forced to pay for concealing what he knew about Epstein.
Staley has said he regrets his friendship with Epstein, but denied knowing about Epstein's alleged sex trafficking. His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Erdoes said during a March deposition that she decided to dismiss Epstein as a client in 2013 because of concerns about large withdrawals from his accounts.
During the deposition, Dimon said he trusted both Erdoes and Cutler and thought they were "trying to do the right thing," according to the transcript.
Epstein died in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. New York City's medical examiner called the death a suicide.