JPMorgan Chase defended itself on Tuesday towards a lawsuit by the U.S. Virgin Islands accusing it of empowering Jeffrey Epstein to abuse teenage ladies by arguing in court docket papers that it was the islands, not the financial institution, that enabled the financier to commit his crimes.

Attorneys for the financial institution mentioned within the Manhattan federal court docket submitting that the federal government of the Virgin Islands was complicit, letting excessive rating officers be purchased off by Epstein and actively working with him whereas “reaping the advantages of his wealth.”

“He gave them cash, recommendation, affect, and favors. In change, they shielded and even rewarded him,” offering profitable tax breaks price tens of millions of {dollars}, they wrote.

Most troubling, they mentioned, was that officers from the islands “protected Epstein, fostering the right situations for Epstein’s prison conduct to proceed undetected.”

The legal professionals added: “For 20 years, and for lengthy after JPMC exited Epstein as a shopper, the entity that the majority immediately failed to guard public security and most actively facilitated and benefited from Epstein’s continued prison exercise was the plaintiff on this case — the USVI authorities itself.”

The Virgin Islands, the place Epstein had an property, sued JPMorgan final yr, saying its investigation revealed that the monetary providers big enabled Epstein’s recruiters to pay victims and was “indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise.”

Of their submitting Tuesday, the financial institution’s legal professionals mentioned Virgin Islands officers appeared the opposite approach when Epstein went via its airports with ladies and younger ladies as he donated generously to political campaigns. The legal professionals mentioned officers have been lenient with necessities that he register as a intercourse offender, doing inspections of his residence that have been “cursory at greatest.”

“In sum, in change for Epstein’s money and presents, USVI made life straightforward for him,” the legal professionals mentioned. “The federal government mitigated any burdens from his intercourse offender standing. And it made certain that nobody requested too many questions on his transport and holding of younger ladies on his island.”

Parts of the submitting have been closely redacted. It requested Choose Jed Rakoff to reject the islands’ makes an attempt to stop the financial institution from utilizing defenses at trial that will expose the islands’ position in Epstein’s dealings.

The legal professionals wrote that “alleged damages have to be balanced towards the appreciable advantages that USVI reaped from its facilitation of Epstein’s crimes.”

Attorneys for the U.S. Virgin Islands didn’t return electronic mail messages in search of remark.

Epstein was 66 when he took his life in August 2019 in a Manhattan federal jail the place he was awaiting trial on intercourse trafficking fees. He had pleaded not responsible to fees of sexually abusing dozens of women, some as younger as 14 years previous.