Elon Musk and Larry Page are among those subpoenaed as the U.S. Virgin Islands pursues its case against JPMorgan Chase. Here’s what you need to know.
As government attorneys unravel Jeffrey Epstein’s complex finances and sex trafficking ring, officials are training their focus on other high-wealth individuals with whom the disgraced financier may have done business.
One of the most closely watched cases comes from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein maintained a residence, as it pursues a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, Epstein’s bank of 15 years. The suit alleges that the institution profited from keeping Epstein on as a client and was complicit in funding his long history of abuse and child sex trafficking.
Deutsche Bank, where Epstein took much of his wealth after leaving JPMorgan in 2013, has already settled a similar case for $75 million. But legal observers say the claims against JPMorgan are far more sweeping than those against Deutsche Bank, covering a period when his trafficking operation was more robust and sophisticated.
Here are the figures surrounding the JPMorgan-Epstein case, and what you need to know about them.
The chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan is set to be deposed by government attorneys on Friday. U.S. Virgin Islands officials claim that the bank knew of suspicious transactions surrounding Epstein’s accounts and reports of sexual abuse as early as 2006.
Government lawyers have already deposed Mary Erdoes, JPMorgan’s chief executive of asset and wealth management, who led the institution to “exit” Epstein as a client in 2013.
JPMorgan has denied any wrongdoing and said the government’s allegations are meritless. It has moved to pin blame for any violations on former executive Jes Staley, who had been one of Epstein’s closest friends.
Attorneys for the U.S. Virgin Islands subpoenaed the Twitter owner and chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX for records
Government lawyers, according to legal filings, are searching for records to determine if Epstein advised Musk about business with JPMorgan, or if Epstein dangled a connection with Musk as potential new business for the bank.
Musk on Twitter has called the subpoena “idiotic on so many levels” and said of Epstein: “That cretin never advised me on anything whatsoever.”
In a 2018 interview with the New York Times, Epstein said he had advised Musk during a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Musk’s leadership of Tesla. A Musk spokesman denied the exchange to the Times.
Musk also wrote on Twitter that he discontinued Tesla’s relationship with JPMorgan a decade ago.
Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin in 1998 and served as chief executive at both Google and Alphabet at various points between 1998 and 2019. He remains a member of Alphabet’s board of directors.
Attorneys for the U.S. Virgin Islands issued a subpoena to Page similar to the one for Musk, seeking records regarding his communications with Epstein and any other documentation concerning Epstein’s involvement in human trafficking. The government argues that Epstein attempted to maintain his ties with JPMorgan by touting his connections with other high-worth individuals as potential bank clients.
Epstein, government lawyers wrote in court filings, “may have referred or attempted to refer [Page] to JPMorgan.”
The Google co-founder was the president of its parent company, Alphabet, until 2019. A person familiar with the U.S. Virgin Islands case confirmed that Brin was subpoenaed as prosecutors sought records similar to those requested of Musk and Page. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the Brin subpoena in March.
The co-founder of Microsoft met with Epstein on various philanthropic causes, Gates’s spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. Gates has repeatedly said he regrets his associations with Epstein.
“It was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of being there,” Gates told CNN in 2021 of his meetings with Epstein.
After Gates rejected a request from Epstein to participate in a multibillion-dollar charitable fund to be administered by JPMorgan, Epstein reportedly threatened in 2017 to expose an alleged affair Gates had with a Russian bridge player around 2010. At that time, Gates was married to Melinda French Gates; they divorced in 2021.
Epstein had sought to create an exclusive “donor advised fund,”according to legal filings, composed of donations from some of the world’s wealthiest people. Gates, the Journal reported, was one of Epstein’s primary targets.
Staley was chief executive of JPMorgan’s investment bank before leaving the institution in 2013. In 2015, he became the head of Barclay’s, one of Britain’s largest financial institutions. He resigned in 2021 after U.K. regulators launched an investigation into his relationship with Epstein. He is facing a suit from JPMorgan surrounding his oversight of Epstein’s accounts.