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Prosecutor fired as banks seek to quash women’s lawsuits in Epstein scandal

The top prosecutor in the US Virgin Islands has been fired less than a week after she filed a lawsuit accusing JPMorgan Chase of ignoring Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking operation.

Attorney General Denise George filed the lawsuit in Manhattan on Dec 27 alleging that the New York-headquartered financial services giant "provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims" of the late Epstein were paid.

On Sunday, Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan confirmed that George had been removed from the office amid reports that he had been unaware of the lawsuit.

"I relieved Denise George of her duties as attorney general this weekend," Bryan said in a statement to media outlets, first published by The Virgin Islands Consortium. "Assistant Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs will serve as acting attorney general."

The website reported that some people familiar with the situation said Bryan "had been frustrated" with George for some time and that her action against the bank was "the final straw".

The US Virgin Islands consist of the neighboring islands of St John and St Thomas, and St Croix to the south, and 50 other surrounding minor islands and cays.

In the lawsuit filed against JPMorgan, George alleged that: "JPMorgan turned a blind eye to evidence of human trafficking over more than a decade because of Epstein's own financial footprint, and because of the deals and clients that Epstein brought and promised to bring to the bank.

'Principal business'

"Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JPMorgan," the suit said.

The bank has yet to publicly comment on the lawsuit.

Epstein was a client of JPMorgan's high-end banking services for 15 years, a relationship that continued after his conviction in 2008 on two counts of soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl, The New York Times reported.

In November 2022, two of Epstein's victims filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank accusing them of ignoring warning signs about Epstein sending underage girls and women to his private island, Little St James Island, which he bought in 1998.

That lawsuit, which is cited and attached as an exhibit to the JPMorgan claim, was recently settled for $105 million, plus half the proceeds of the sale of island, which is listed for $55 million, the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.

Epstein's estate and its coexecutors, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, have denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

The latest case that George filed against JPMorgan has been marked as related to the proposed class-action lawsuits filed in the same court, also against JPMorgan, and Deutsche Bank.

The lawsuits are pending before US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff and have been scheduled for trial in the Southern District of New York in the summer of 2023.

JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank filed motions on Friday to dismiss the lawsuits.

Epstein was 66 when he was found hanged in a federal detention center in Manhattan in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking and abuse charges. A medical examiner ruled his death was a suicide.

hengweili@chinadailyusa.com