Former Barclays chief Jes Staley’s ‘profound’ friendship with Jeffrey Epstein revealed in trove of emails

February 16, 2023, 9:24 PM UTC
Jes Staley
Former Barclays chief executive Jes Staley.
Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Former JPMorgan Chase & Co executive Jes Staley engaged in a discussion of Disney princesses with Jeffrey Epstein in July 2010, according to several emails cited in a lawsuit filed against the bank by the US Virgin Islands.

“That was fun,” Staley allegedly wrote. “Say hi to Snow White.”

“[W]hat character would you like next?” Epstein allegedly responded.

“Beauty and the Beast.”

According to the USVI, the exchange was referring to young women and girls Epstein was procuring. The territory unsealed the language Wednesday as part of a court filing aimed at bolstering its argument that JPMorgan, as Staley’s employer at the time, is liable for facilitating Epstein’s sexual abuse.

The new allegations follow an amended complaint in a separate lawsuit against JPMorgan by Epstein victims claiming Staley “personally observed” his former client’s misconduct. 

A lawyer for Staley declined to comment on Thursday. Staley, who is not a defendant in either lawsuit, has consistently denied knowledge of Epstein’s sexual abuse.

JPMorgan declined to comment on the USVI filing on Wednesday. The bank has moved to dismiss both suits, claiming that the allegations concerning Staley are unsupported and that any knowledge on his part can’t be imputed to the bank. JPMorgan has also argued that it’s not clear that the allegations about Staley concern minors or women under coercion.

Staley, who left JPMorgan in 2013 and became chief executive officer of Barclays Plc two years later, was known to have exchanged upwards of 1,200 emails with Epstein over the years, but their contents have not been previously disclosed. Staley stepped down as Barclays CEO in 2021 following a UK Financial Conduct Authority probe into his ties with Epstein.

According to the USVI, Epstein also occasionally emailed Staley photos of young women.

‘I Realize the Danger’

In another email cited in the suit, Staley appeared to write Epstein from the latter’s villa on Little St. James in November 2009. At the time, Epstein was under home confinement in Palm Beach, Florida, following his release on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution but was allowed to travel to New York to meet with his lawyers.

“Presently, I’m in the hot tub with a glass of white wine,” he wrote. “This is an amazing place. Next time, we’re here together. I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound.” 

According to a December 2009 email, Staley got his desired reunion.

“I realize the danger in sending this email,” Staley allegedly wrote. “But it was great to be able, today, to give you, in New York City, a long, heartfelt, hug.”

Epstein was a customer of the bank between 1998 and 2013 and held about 55 accounts, containing hundreds of millions of dollars, USVI says. At least 20 individuals paid through JPMorgan accounts were “victims of trafficking and sexual assault in Little St James,” according to the lawsuit. 

The case is USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

–With assistance from Jonathan Browning.

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