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Deutsche Bank settles lawsuit with Epstein accusers for $75 million

Jeffrey Epstein, pictured in 2017, was  a client of Deutsche Bank from 2013 to 2018 — well after he was convicted as a sex offender.
Jeffrey Epstein, pictured in 2017, was a client of Deutsche Bank from 2013 to 2018 — well after he was convicted as a sex offender.

Deutsche Bank has put an end to a proposed class-action lawsuit that alleged the lender knowingly benefited from facilitating Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring – even after he was a convicted sex offender.

The German bank agreed to a $75 million settlement in a deal that was formalized on May 11 and still needs to be approved by the court. A trial to hear the latest civil lawsuit had been scheduled for September 5.

The lawsuit, filed by a woman identified as Jane Doe, claimed Deutsche Bank benefited from Epstein's sex trafficking and "chose profit over following the law."

In court documents filed in federal court in New York, she said that she was sexually abused by the billionaire and trafficked to his friends for about 15 years, while receiving cash payments for sexual acts.

She added: "Deutsche Bank knowingly benefited and received things of value for assisting, supporting, facilitating, and otherwise providing the most critical service for the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking organization to successfully rape, sexually assault, and coercively sex traffic" numerous women over the years that he was a client.

Attorneys from Boies Schiller Flexner and Edwards Pottinger, who represent the unnamed woman, said, "This groundbreaking settlement is the culmination of two law firms conducting more than a decade-long investigation to hold one of Epstein's financial banking partners responsible for the role it played in facilitating his trafficking organization."

Deutsche Bank did not respond to NPR's requests for comment.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, Wall Street Journal reporter Khadeeja Safdar said the bank did not admit to wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

"The bank declined to comment on the terms of the settlement, but emphasized that they have invested more than 4 billion euros to bolster their controls and increase [the] size of their workforce dedicated to fighting financial crime," Safdar explained.

Safdar, who broke the story for the newspaper, added that eligible accusers will receive a minimum $75,000 payment. "And then depending on the circumstances, they can get a payment of upwards of 5 million" dollars.

Epstein, who died in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking, was a client of Deutsche Bank from 2013 to 2018.

JP Morgan Chase, where Epstein was also a client from 2000 to 2013, faces a similar lawsuit filed by the same lawyers – David Boies and Brad Edwards – and another by the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home on the private island of Little Saint James. The government there is suing the bank for allegedly facilitating Epstein's sex trafficking operation.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.