JPMorgan hit back against the US Virgin Islands this week, which is suing the bank over its relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – accusing the former USVI governor and first lady of accepting a gift in the form of tuition for Skidmore College. Of note, the former USVI governor’s wife, Cecile de Jongh, acted as Epstein’s office manager.
Cecile de Jongh, wife of then-USVI Governor John de Jongh Jr., sent Epstein an August 2011 email with the subject line “Please Approve,” attaching a $25,000 tuition bill for Skidmore, a private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. The email is among dozens of previously sealed documents the bank filed late Wednesday in Manhattan federal court. –Bloomberg
The move is part of an “unclean hands” defense by the bank.
In May the bank accused de Jongh, of acting as his “primary conduit for spreading money and influence throughout the USVI,” however the emails revealed in Wednesday’s filing provide additional context in terms of the relationship between Epstein and the USVI first family.
The filing also reveals that JPMorgan intends to defend this to the end despite announcing on Monday that it had agreed to settle with a group of Epstein accusers for $290 million.
The USVI, meanwhile, has asked the judge in the case to stop JPMorgan from asserting this “unlclean hands” defense, as they claim it doesn’t apply to government actors.
JPMorgan claims that the tuition paid for de Jongh’s children boosted her 2009 overall compensation as an office manager to $200,000. The bank claims that in return for the tuition, de Jongh provided Epstein access to the USVI’s political elite – who extended tax benefits and allowed him to take part in crafting laws that might affect him.
In one email exchange from May 2011 between Epstein and de Jongh, the two discussed the USVI’s plans to update its sex offender registry laws, as it directly impacted the convicted pedophile due to his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution.