At least three billionaires received subpoenas this week connected to a lawsuit against JPMorgan over the bank’s relationship with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a person familiar with the matter told Forbes—the latest twist in a case that has ensnared some of America’s most powerful figures.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hyatt Hotels executive chairman Thomas Pritzker and real estate mogul Mortimer Zuckerman were the billionaires subpoenaed, while former Disney president Michael Ovitz has also been asked to provide information.
The reason the businessmen were subpoenaed is not clear, but they’ve been told to provide documents and communications connected to Epstein and the bank, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news Thursday.
The subpoenas were issued by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is seeking damages from the bank over what it claims was a continued relationship with Epstein after it became aware of sex trafficking allegations against him.
Epstein owned an approximately 70-acre private island in the U.S. territory before his death in 2019, where he allegedly brought scores of underage girls to sexually abuse them.
The businessmen could not immediately be reached for comment.
JPMorgan faces lawsuits from the Virgin Islands and an unnamed Epstein victim over the bank’s decision to keep Epstein as a client until 2013—five years after he was convicted in Florida for soliciting prostitution from someone under the age of 18. JPMorgan has claimed bank executives were largely unaware of additional allegations against Epstein in the Virgin Islands, which prompted his 2019 arrest, with one exception.
The bank filed a lawsuit earlier this month against former investment banking executive Jes Staley, accusing him of concealing a personal relationship he had with Epstein—suggesting he was aware of and may have even been a participant in the alleged sex trafficking operation.
Staley left JPMorgan in 2013 to become CEO of Barclays before resigning in 2021 amid a regulatory investigation into his relationship with Epstein. Staley has denied any wrongdoing. Epstein died in his jail cell in 2019 as he awaited his sex trafficking trial in what authorities ruled a suicide.
What To Watch For
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has agreed to sit for a deposition in the case, even though the bank has said he was unaware of the allegations against Epstein. An internal email cited in the Virgin Islands’ lawsuit appears to show the bank was ready to drop Epstein as a client following his 2008 guilty plea but the decision was “pending Dimon review.”
We estimate Brin is the richest of the billionaire trio subpoenaed, with a net worth of $85.6 billion, making him the 12th-richest person in the world. Pritzker is worth an estimated $5.3 billion, while Zuckerman’s wealth is estimated at $2.3 billion. Dimon is also a billionaire, commanding an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.