A federal judge has approved JPMorgan Chase’s settlement of a class action lawsuit in which the nation’s largest bank will pay $290 million to the victims of disgraced financier and convicted sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein.
While a preliminary settlement was reached in June, Judge Jed Rakoff gave final approval on Thursday, after holding an afternoon hearing to determine the fairness of the settlement to Epstein’s victims.
Attorneys general from 16 states and Washington DC reportedly raised concerns about some of the language in the settlement, saying a broad release given to JPMorgan could prevent other states from bringing their own sex-trafficking claims under a federal law that allows state governments to file civil lawsuits on behalf of sexual-abuse victims.
But Judge Rakoff said that was a hypothetical issue, and that he found no problems with the settlement language, adding, “This case sent a message through this very substantial settlement that banking institutions have a responsibility.”
The unnamed victim claimed that for years JPMorgan ignored red flags pointing to Epstein’s sexual abuse of women and children. After servicing the financier for 15 years, the bank severed ties with Epstein in 2013 — five years after he was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution.
The lawsuit was one of two civil suits derived from JPMorgan’s relationship with Epstein.
In September, the bank agreed to pay a $75 million settlement to the U.S. Virgin Islands over claims that it did nothing to prevent sex-trafficking operated by Epstein on his private island.
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