Jes Staley had ‘profound friendship’ with Jeffrey Epstein, court documents claim

Jes Staley, the former boss of Barclays, has been accused of having such a “profound friendship” with Jeffrey Epstein that it could “even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation”, according to documents filed in a US court.

Staley, who resigned as chief executive of Barclays in November 2021 after a preliminary investigation by the UK regulators into his relationship with Epstein, is now accused of regularly visiting Epstein on his private Caribbean island and continuing to “corresponded with Epstein while Epstein was incarcerated”.

The documents submitted in federal court in New York by the US Virgin Islands (USVI) in its lawsuit against the Wall Street banking giant JP Morgan – where Staley was head of its exclusive private bank and had Epstein as a client – include fresh claims about the extent of Staley’s friendship with Epstein.

“Between 2008 and 2012, Staley exchanged approximately 1,200 emails with Epstein from his JP Morgan email account,” the USVI said in freshly unredacted documents. “These communications show a close personal relationship and ‘profound’ friendship between the two men and even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.

“They also reveal that Staley corresponded with Epstein while Epstein was incarcerated and visited Epstein’s Virgin Islands residence on multiple occasions.”

A spokesperson for Staley declined to comment, but a lawyer for Staley had previously said “we wish to make it expressly clear that our client had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Mr Epstein”.

Staley developed a relationship with Epstein in 2000, when he was hired to lead JP Morgan’s private bank, which handles wealthy clients. Staley stayed in contact with Epstein for seven years after the latter was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008, and visited Epstein in Florida while he was still serving his sentence and on work release in 2009.

That relationship continued after Staley left JP Morgan, where he had spent 30 years of his career, in 2013. Staley claimed their contact started to taper off after he left the Wall Street lender, with the two men meeting for a final time in 2015, when Staley took his own yacht, the Bequia, to visit Epstein’s private island.

Epstein was found dead in a New York jail cell in 2019 where he was being held without bail after his arrest on sex-trafficking charges. He was facing trial in Manhattan on federal crimes, having worked out a plea deal in Florida years earlier on charges of sex offences.

His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted of similar charges in December 2021. Maxwell, daughter of the British press baron Robert Maxwell, was found guilty of sex trafficking and related charges for luring girls as young as 14 into Epstein’s abusive orbit. During her trial, a JP Morgan banker testified that Epstein wired her $31m (£25m), and prosecutors suggested this was Maxwell’s payment for procuring young girls for Epstein and friends.

The fresh claims are included in the USVI’s lawsuit accuse JP Morgan of “turning a blind eye” to illegal activities committed by Epstein – a client of the bank – on his private island, Little St James, which is part of the Caribbean US territory.

“JP Morgan knowingly, negligently and unlawfully provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid and was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise,” the lawsuit states. “Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JP Morgan.”

JP Morgan declined to comment. However, a source familiar with the lawsuit previously pointed out that the bank “ended its relationship with Epstein long before his ongoing misconduct became known”.

The Guardian