Former Barclays CEO Jes Staley allegedly exchanged sexually suggestive emails with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, some of which included photos of young women, according to newly unsealed passages of a federal lawsuit.
Those email exchanges allegedly continued long after Epstein was convicted of sex crimes in 2008, the US Virgin Islands government wrote in its complaint against JPMorgan Chase, where Staley previously served as a top executive.
Staley was the person largely responsible for JPMorgan Chase’s 15-year financial relationship with Epstein. He later became CEO of Barclays, but he stepped down in 2021 during investigations about the bank’s Epstein dealings. He isn’t a defendant in the lawsuit and has not been charged criminally with any activities related to Epstein. A London-based lawyer for Staley declined to comment on the suit or his relationship with Epstein.
The original complaint, filed in December, was heavily redacted. But the amended complaint, released by the government of the US Virgin Islands on Wednesday, backs claims from the earlier filing that Staley exchanged more than 1,000 emails from his JPMorgan Chase email account between 2008 and 2012, corresponded with Epstein while he was incarcerated, and visited his Virgin Islands residence on multiple occasions.
“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,” said US Virgin Islands lawyers in the amended complaint against JPMorgan Chase.
The lawsuit alleges JPMorgan Chase “had a more than close-up view of Epstein’s sex-trafficking” and “ignored obvious red flags relating to Epstein’s accounts.”
Both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays declined to comment on the newly unsealed passages. But after the US Virgin Islands attorney general sued JPMorgan Chase in December — claiming that the bank should have known about Epstein’s activities on Little St. James Island, the island he owned off the coast of St. Thomas — the bank moved to dismiss the suit.
In a filing on February 1 lawyers for the bank wrote, “[The US Virgin Islands’] lawsuit is a masterclass in deflection that seeks to hold [JPMorgan Chase] responsible for not sleuthing out Epstein’s crimes over a decade ago.”
In the newly unsealed passages, the US Virgin Islands government claims Staley sent emails from Epstein’s island in the fall of 2009, when Epstein was incarcerated in Florida.
“So when all hell breaks l[o]ose, and the world is crumbling, I will come here, and be at peace,” Staley allegedly said in the email. “Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine. This is an amazing place. Truly amazing. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.”
One month later, Staley allegedly sent another email to Epstein: “I realize the danger in sending this email. But it was great to be able, today, to give you, in New York City, a long heartfelt, hug.”
Epstein allegedly responded by sending a photo of a young woman, with the image redacted in the lawsuit.
In July 2010, the filing alleges that Staley sent an email to Epstein, saying, “Say hi to Snow White.” Epstein responded: “[W]hat character would you like next?” When Staley said “Beauty and the Beast,” Epstein replied: “Well one side is available.” Virgin Islands lawyers claim references to Disney princesses were code words for young women.
JPMorgan Chase did not flag any of the emails between Epstein and Staley in connection with risk reviews, according to the lawsuit: “Moreover, JP Morgan Chase allowed Staley to remain a decision-maker on Epstein’s accounts. JP Morgan Chase even tasked Staley to discuss the human trafficking allegations with Epstein.”
Last November, Attorney General Denise George settled the US Virgin Islands’ lawsuit against Epstein’s estate for more than $105 million, along with an agreement that the estate will sell Epstein’s islands in the territory and end business operations there.
Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in 2019. A medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
When he died, Epstein was awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach estate, and allegedly paying girls as young as 14 for sex.
According to the New York Times, Staley has said in the past that while he was friendly with Epstein, he never knew of the allegations beyond Epstein’s guilty plea.