JPMorgan alleges that the wife of the ex-governor of the US Virgin Islands aided Jeffrey Epstein’s criminal activity

By | May 26, 2023

The nation’s largest bank says the wife of a former U.S. Virgin Islands governor aided convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged criminal activity by helping him evade sex offender surveillance laws and coordinating visas, employment and travel for his victims.

Cecile de Jongh was Epstein’s “primary conduit for spreading money and influence through the USVI government,” JPMorgan Chase alleged in a court document filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Her husband, John de Jongh, served as Governor of the US Territory of the Caribbean from 2007 to 2015.

“For two decades, Epstein maintained a quid pro quo relationship with USVI’s highest-ranking officials,” the financial institution said in the court filing. “He gave them money, advice, influence and favors. In return, they sheltered and even rewarded him.”

JPMorgan Chase made the allegations in a filing as part of its defense in a civil suit brought by the territory against it last year. In its complaint, the Virgin Islands alleged that the bank “was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trading enterprise.”

The case demands financial compensation. The bank has denied responsibility.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the islands’ attorney general said: “JPMorgan Chase facilitated the abuse of Jeffrey Epstein and should be held accountable for breaking the law.” The spokesman called the charges against Cecile de Jongh “a blatant attempt to deflect blame from JPMorgan Chase, which had a legal responsibility to report the evidence in its possession of Epstein’s trafficking, and failed to do so.”

Cecile de Jongh did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Epstein was convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution. He later died by suicide in 2019 at a Manhattan correctional facility, where he was being held on federal sex-trafficking charges.

Epstein owned a small island in the Virgin Islands. Despite Cecile de Jongh’s public role and official duties, she managed Epstein’s Virgin Island-based companies from 2007 to 2015, earning $200,000 in 2007 alone, the court document claimed. Epstein also paid the children’s tuition, according to the document.

The financial institution alleged that she helped Epstein obtain student visas for three of his victims and helped enroll them in a “tailor-made class” at the University of the Virgin Islands. The class was created to “provide cover for their presence in the territory — the same year Epstein donated $20,000 to the university through one of his companies,” according to the court filing.

Victims had to demonstrate their ability to pay for the hour through a letter, and “perhaps aware of the risk of having a registered sex offender sign the letter,” Cecile de Jongh suggested that someone else sign the letters, the filings state.

Some of the young women Epstein brought to the island also needed work, including a woman seeking a dental license, the court document said. Cecile de Jongh contacted several government officials about dental licensing rules and regulations, and “in the end, First Lady de Jongh was successful.”

“The young woman eventually established a local dental practice in the USVI and shared an office with Epstein’s companies,” the bank alleged.

Epstein often met with management at the Virgin Islands Port Authority, which operated the airport on St. Thomas through which the victims used to arrive in the islands. Epstein also leased hangar space at the airport.

According to the court document, Cecile de Jongh asked Epstein – on her husband’s behalf – “if we would support” a local lawmaker’s bid to return to a position with the Port Authority, adding that the lawmaker would be “a good person for us” there.

“Based on his government connections, when he traveled through the USVI airport with young women as a registered sex offender, Epstein could rely on his ‘good relationship’ with the officials there to avoid scrutiny or detection,” the court document said.

In 2011, the islands’ legislature passed a bill that would update sex offender monitoring laws. At the time, according to the filing, Cecile de Jongh emailed Epstein draft language for the proposed bill, writing “this is the proposed language; will it work for you?”

Epstein objected to several provisions, including one that would have required him, as an ex-offender, to report short trips outside US territory, such as to the nearby British Virgin Islands. He suggested a change: “We should add overseas for more than 7 days, otherwise I couldn’t go on a last-minute day trip to Tortola.”

The bank claimed that Epstein was “disappointed with the final form of the bill”, but Cecile de Jongh told him that “all is not lost and we will find something by coming up with a plan to get around these obstacles.”

“In sum, in exchange for Epstein’s money and gifts, the USVI made life easy for him. The government mitigated any burdens from his status as a sex offender,” the court document said.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is scheduled to be deposed in the Virgin Islands lawsuit and another filed by a Jane Doe against the bank over its alleged Epstein ties.

A JPMorgan spokesman told NBC News last week: “Jamie Dimon never met Epstein, never communicated with him, never emailed with him and never played a role in any dealings with him.”

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