Kathy Ruemmler, who served under Presidents Clinton and Obama before joining white-collar defense firms, was one such referral. As The Daily Beast reported, Ruemmler showed up to Epstein’s New York arraignment and her name was found multiple times in Epstein’s 2014 schedule for meetings with Ehud Barak, Peter Thiel, and Bill Gates.
In February 2019, Epstein’s longtime assistant Lesley Groff emailed Mary Erdoes, the CEO of the bank’s Asset & Wealth Management arm, about Ruemmler.
“Jeffrey wanted me to reach out to you re his very good friend and former White House counsel to Pres. Barak [sic] Obama, Kathy Ruemmler,” wrote Groff, who was named as a potential co-conspirator in Epstein’s 2008 plea deal in Florida. (She denies any wrongdoing.)
“She would like to open an account with JPM,” Groff added. “Jeffrey requests she deal with you personally. Might this be possible?”
The latest revelation about Ruemmler and other Epstein associates comes from an unredacted legal filing in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ lawsuit against JPMorgan. The territory has accused the bank of enabling and profiting off Epstein’s trafficking ring and is seeking at least $190 million in damages in a case that’s headed to trial this fall.
Days later, Erdoes thanked Groff and wrote, “I dont handle accounts myself but we will definitley [sic] get her in the right hands.” Groff replied, “…Mary, Jeffrey just thought that kathy is one of the most powerful women in washington and thought you two would bond..”
Erdoes also emailed JPMorgan’s general counsel Stacey Friedman asking, “Do you know Kathy? Any reason we shouldnt take her? Odd that this is coming through JE…” Friedman answered, “We’re using her on some key matters. I would think she would be a great client.”
The court records show that years earlier, Epstein referred another high-profile client: Nick Ribis, the former head of Donald Trump’s hotel and casino empire.
One January 2007 email from a JPMorgan employee included an attached memo that read, “Also, as you know, earlier today, Jeff called me to say he has asked two potential new clients in 200M range (Nick Ribis and Ben Jacobson) to call me directly.”
That month, a JPMorgan wealth adviser fired off an email to colleagues saying he “just got call from one of Jeffs referrals, Nick Ribis,” who was an executive at Colony Capital “specializing in ownership of casinos.” Ribis, the staffer said, asked for a meeting the following week at his Manhattan office—albeit without Epstein. “He also thought unnecessary to invite Jeffrey, but I will call Jeff and let him know Nick called me and he and I set up lunch,” the adviser wrote.
Epstein and Ribis were still rubbing elbows years later. Emails obtained by The Daily Beast show that Groff asked Epstein about scheduling meetings with Ribis in April 2011, on the same day he had meetings with Bill Gates, Larry Summers and JPMorgan executive Jes Staley.
Ribis wasn’t the only potential client in the JPMorgan memo. Under a heavily-redacted section that refers to “clients/prospects,” the document listed public relations expert and onetime Epstein mouthpiece Howard Rubenstein. (According to the USVI’s statement of material facts, JPMorgan wired Rubenstein a total of $200,000 from Epstein’s accounts from October 2007 to June 2008, when Rubenstein acted as the sex-trafficker’s spokesman while he fended off serious charges in Palm Beach.)
Meanwhile, in 2006, Erdoes emailed fellow executives about moving Google’s business with the bank from San Francisco to New York because of Epstein. JPMorgan, legal filings allege, considered Epstein an adviser to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
“Again, I want to reiterate that this is NOTHING to do with the abilities of the SF team,” Erdoes wrote in an October 2006 email. “This is solely because of our need to have a NY team to cover a NY person, Jeffrey Epstein (as the advisor to the partners).”
On the same day, employees emailed about “Google founder GRATS,” or grantor retained annuity trusts that transfer wealth to heirs without gift or estate taxes. One executive wrote that she was setting up a conference call to “get the necessary background on the potential investment mgt opportunity associated with Jeffrey Epstein (advisor) to the trusts set up on behalf of the Google founder’s kids.”
While the email doesn’t name the Google co-founder, the USVI’s legal filings indicate Brin and executives from his family office, Bayshore Global, met with Erdoes and other JPMorgan bigwigs. And internal documents from JPMorgan stated that in 2014, Brin’s relationship was “one of the largest in the Private Bank” and worth $4 billion.
The unredacted documents also share more information about Epstein’s work with billionaire Leon Black, who is currently fighting a vicious legal battle with a law firm that’s represented three of his sexual abuse accusers.
According to a USVI pleading, “Epstein occasionally brought opportunities to JPMorgan for them to ‘deepen’ their relationship with Leon Black.” One of those chances arrived in July 2012, when Epstein requested a loan on Black’s behalf for an art purchase.
John Duffy, the CEO of the Private Bank, emailed another JPMorgan director the following October, asking, “Did we ever engage with Leon on a loan for his art purchase?”
“Not on our end,” the employee responded, adding, “I have a suspicion that the Epstein episode was not helpful to our relationship and connectivity with Leon.”
Still, in May 2013, Epstein emailed JPMorgan employees requesting a meeting at Black’s office that June. One senior employee wrote to colleagues, “Jeffrey just called to discuss meeting. There is a $1B credit facility with JPM in the mix…”
The manager of Leon Black’s family office, Eileen Alexanderson, emailed Justin Nelson, Epstein’s banker at JPMorgan, in August 2013: “At your convenience, I would be interested in discussing potential terms for a collateralized personal borrowing by Mr Black.”
Two months later, a JPMorgan director contacted Nelson about Epstein’s role as Black’s financial adviser. “Are we still doing any business with him or his clients &/or is there any way for us to insert ourselves or get Jeffrey to insert us into transactions with people he apparently influences like Leon?” the director wrote.
In February 2014, Duffy wrote an underling that Black’s family office manager wanted to open Black’s accounts through Nelson. The employee responded, “We all remain very concerned about the Epstein link.”
“Totally get it – I’m sure this was hard for the team,” Duffy wrote.
In 2012, a JPMorgan employee contacted Duffy about approvals for “high risk” private bank clients, among them Epstein. “Can we please review the cash withdrawal activity for his entities?” Duffy replied in an email.
When a compliance official found cash withdrawals worth $30,000 or $40,000 each in an account associated with Epstein’s private jet, Duffy replied, “JE and I spoke about his pattern of cash withdrawals. His answer was ‘fuel payments in foreign countries.’”
“Sounds like I still need to speak with him, however I did ask him to withdraw this cash from his aviation account for these payments,” Duffy continued. “Clearly he is doing this.”
But USVI, in its statement of material facts, says, “There is no evidence that the Bank asked Epstein for any receipts or other documentation to support his cash-for-fuel explanation. They took Epstein ‘at his word.’”
The unredacted legal filing highlights other red flags related to Epstein, including the bank learning in 2011 that Bear Stearns faced a subpoena over the wealthy sex offender.
JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns in 2007, and as a result, one of Bear Stearns’ anti-money laundering compliance officials held a similar role at the bank. That official was “responsible for responding to a 2007 subpoena by the federal prosecutors investigating Epstein for federal sex crimes,” the document states.
“Seems JPMC never was served a subpoena, which I find odd since we were his #1 bank and actually Bar got one in 07,” one employee noted in a January 2011 email.
JPMorgan employees then tracked down the U.S. Attorney’s Office subpoena to Bear Stearns which requested, among other things, a “list of accounts at other financial institutions that Bear Stearns has either transferred money to or receive money from on behalf of Mr. Epstein.” (In response to this subpoena, Bear Stearns indicated in a regulatory report that it didn’t find any suspicious wire transfers.)
The legal filing also notes that Epstein sued Bear Stearns in 2009 for “fraudulently overstat[ing] the value” of its mortgages and securities, as well as other alleged misconduct.
In 2011, after JPMorgan offered to settle Epstein’s claims for $21 million, the bank’s general counsel Stephen Cutler sent an email to employees including Erdoes and Staley, “This is not an honorable person in any way. He should not be a client.” Cutler also wrote to Erdoes, “I would like to put it and HIM behind us. Not a person we should do business with – period.”
It would be two more years, however, before JPMorgan cut ties with Epstein.
“I appreciate the effort,” the perverted financier wrote to Erdoes after the settlement. “Let’s move on, [sic] and make some real money.”
“Onwards and upwards, on so many fronts,” Erdoes replied.
Since the USVI and a victim known as Jane Doe sued JPMorgan over its decade-long relationship with Epstein in late 2022, CEO Jamie Dimon claimed that he never knew Epstein was a client of the bank until his death in a Manhattan jail.
But the unredacted filings reveal that Dimon and Epstein served on the same internal working group related to Highbridge Capital Management, the investment fund of Epstein’s close friend Glenn Dubin. JPMorgan acquired Highbridge in 2004, and the fund paid an Epstein company $15 million for “merger and acquisition advice.”
After the deal closed, Staley asked his assistant to send an email to Dimon and Dubin with Epstein blind-copied on the message. “You’ve done an amazing job of bringing our businesses together and delivering numbers (both financial returns and investment returns) that will earn the envy of our industry,” the draft read.
“We are well on our way to resume our position as one of the most repected [sic] asset and wealth managers.”