Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay 75 million US dollars (£60.3 million) to settle a lawsuit claiming the German lender should have seen evidence of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein when he was a client, according to lawyers for women who say they were abused by the late financier.
A woman only identified as Jane Doe sued the bank in federal district court in New York and sought class-action status to represent other victims of Epstein.
The lawsuit asserted that the bank knowingly benefitted from Epstein’s sex trafficking and “chose profit over following the law” to earn millions of dollars from the businessman.
One of the law firms representing victims in the case, Edwards Pottinger, said it believes the sex-trafficking settlement is likely the largest with a bank in US history.
Deutsche Bank would not comment on the settlement but noted a 2020 statement from the bank acknowledging its mistake in taking on Epstein as a client, said Frank Hartmann, the German lender’s global head of media relations.
“The bank has invested more than four billion euros (£3.5 billion) to bolster controls, processes and training and hired more people to fight financial crime,” Mr Hartmann said in a written statement.
Deutsche Bank had previously joined JPMorgan Chase, which is also facing a lawsuit over its ties to Epstein, in fighting the allegations.
Epstein died in prison awaiting criminal charges. His death was ruled a suicide.
The German lender said late last year it provided “routine banking services” to Epstein from 2013 to 2018 and the lawsuit “does not come close to adequately alleging that Deutsche Bank … was part of Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring”.