“Stingray Technology” Used To Locate Child-Trafficking Associate Eluding Capture

An associate of Jeffrey Epstein – who is facing child trafficking charges – Ms Ghislaine Maxwell, was tracked down by the FBI using the data from her mobile phone.

Shortly, the 58-year-old woman was arrested in her secluded mansion in New Hampshire on July 2 during a raid. The operation happened a day after a request was made for a search warrant “to determine with precision the Target Cellular Device’s location”.

However, upon arrest, she pleaded not guilty in helping Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for sex, and not guilty to perjury for having denied involvement under oath.

As first reported by The Daily Beast, the newly unsealed document revealed that Ms Maxwell was located using GPS and “stingray” technology to pinpoint a phone she had registered under the name “G Max”. This phone had been used to call her lawyer, sister and husband.

Ms Maxwell had been hiding out in the $1.3 million home following the arrest and subsequent death in prison of Epstein, with whom she had a relationship with in the 1990s. Currently, she is being held in detention in New York City ahead of her trial, which is set to begin in July.

In the court documents disclosed, details of her arrest including the request of a “GPS warrant” to locate Ms Maxwell were revealed, which allowed them to track Ms Maxwell’s whereabouts to an area of about 2.5 square kilometres.

Another warrant was requested for the use of a “stingray” device to narrow the search.

According to the second application, “The location data is insufficiently specific to allow the FBI to identify the particular building in which the Target Cellular Device is currently located.”

The device used to trace Ms Maxwell’s exact location inside her mansion is defined in the warrant as a device “capable of broadcasting signals … in some respects like a cellular tower”.

In addition, prosecutors said Ms Maxwell had used her New Hampshire home, which officials said she purchased in December 2019 in cash, as a hideout.

Her husband, on the other hand, whose name was redacted from court papers, argued that Ms Maxwell moved there to protect her safety and escape the media frenzy, not to dodge from capture.

Her record shows that she was denied bail twice, most recently on December 29 on a judge ruling as Ms Maxwell posed a “flight risk” despite her proposed $37.5 million bail package.

As predicted, Ms Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted at her scheduled trial in July 2021.

(Image source: ABC News)

Last inmate to share jail cell with Jeffrey Epstein dies aged 51 of COVID at his mother’s house


The last inmate to have shared a jail cell in federal lockup with Jeffrey Epstein before his suicide died a day after Thanksgiving, months after contracting COVID behind bars. 

Efrain ‘Stone’ Reyes was found dead in a bed at his mother’s apartment in The Bronx on November 27. He was 51 years old. 

Reyes was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this year while serving a sentence for a drug trafficking conviction at Queens Detention Facility, where he was transferred from Manhattan Correction Center in August 2019, a day before his notorious cellmate, Epstein, took his own life by hanging. 

Jeffrey Epstein

Efrain ‘Stone’ Reyes, 51 (left), died at his mother’s apartment on November 27. He was the last inmate to share a cell with Jeffrey Epstein (right) before his August 2019 suicide

Reyes was transferred out of the Metropolitan Correctional Center a day before Epstein hanged himself using bedsheets (interior of Epstein's cell is pictured)

Reyes was transferred out of the Metropolitan Correctional Center a day before Epstein hanged himself using bedsheets (interior of Epstein’s cell is pictured) 

Reyes reportedly told his niece before his death that Epstein was a 'good cellmate' he enjoyed reading and kept to himself

Reyes reportedly told his niece before his death that Epstein was a ‘good cellmate’ he enjoyed reading and kept to himself 

Reyes’ niece, Angelique Lopez, 27, told the New York Daily News that prior to his death, her uncle spoke about his time behind bars with the billionaire sex offender, whom he described as a ‘good cellmate’ who kept to himself and spent much of his time reading. 

‘He wasn’t a problem starter or too loud,’ Lopez told the paper of the disgraced financier, who she said had been placed in her uncle’s cell because Reyes had a broken leg and was ‘laid back.’ 

According to Reyes’ niece, her uncle told her that he witnessed Epstein being mistreated by corrections officers at MCC and extorted by other inmates, who knew of his massive fortune and were eager to get their hands on some of it.

‘[Staff] were treating him like c**p. They were making him sleep on the floor. They wouldn’t let him sleep on a cot,’ Lopez said.

Reyes was said to have told his niece that in his final days, Epstein was on suicide watch, was ‘very depressed’ and said that ‘he didn’t want to live anymore’. 

Another former MCC inmate was quoted as telling the Daily News that Epstein ‘was saying he’s going to kill himself because the government is trying to kill him anyway.’ 

Epstein hanged himself using ripped bed sheets less than 24 hours after Reyes was transferred to the privately run Queens jail for cooperating witnesses.  

Following Epstein’s August 10, 2019, suicide, the FBI questioned Reyes’ about his former cellmate’s demeanor.

Reyes claimed that Epstein was mistreated by staff at the jail and extorted by other inmates

Reyes claimed that Epstein was mistreated by staff at the jail and extorted by other inmates 

According to Reyes, Epstein was suicidal towards the end (Epstein's noose is pictured)

According to Reyes, Epstein was suicidal towards the end (Epstein’s noose is pictured) 

Lopez said her uncle cooperated with the investigation, but he was nervous to blow the whistle on the allegedly abusive MCC staff for fear of retaliation.

‘He was worried if they told them what they did to Epstein he was worried it would follow him and affect him negatively,’ Lopez said.

In a note that was found in Epstein’s cell after his death he complained about being served burnt food and having ‘giant bugs’ crawling over his hands.  

Reyes was at the Queens facility, which previously housed rapper-turned-informant Tekashi69, when he contracted COVID-19 in the spring.

Lopez recounted how her uncle broke down in tears, telling his family of his diagnosis and expressing fear that he would die of the virus behind bars.

The niece said when her uncle regained his freedom in April, it was apparent that the illness had taken a heavy toll on his lungs. The 51-year-old also suffered from diabetes and heart problems.

Following his release, Reyes expressed doubts that Epstein could have hanged himself from the frame of the bunk bed as it wasn’t tall enough, saying that it didn’t make sense.

However, he said said he couldn’t be sure as ‘sometimes people are fighting something we know nothing about.’

Epstein’s suicide is still the subject of an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice. 



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Ghislaine Maxwell says she can’t recall a ‘laundry basket full of sex toys’ in Jeffrey Epstein testimony


Accused sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell repeatedly denied that she recruited underage girls for her former partner, the disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, in a deposition released Thursday that she had fought to keep secret.

The denials form part of perjury charges brought against the British socialite, who is accused of grooming girls as young as 14 for Epstein, who killed himself in prison last year.

Maxwell – the daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell – denies sex trafficking dozens of minors and is due to go on trial in New York next summer.

Prosecutors also accuse the 58-year-old of lying in testimony she gave in 2016 in a defamation case filed against her by long-time Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.

Maxwell’s lawyers fought for months to prevent the 465-page document from becoming public, citing sensitive private details, but earlier this week an appeals court ordered that they be unsealed.

“Stop right there. I never recruited girls,” Maxwell says in the deposition.

Elsewhere, she says: “I never had non-consensual sex with anybody ever, at any time, at anyplace, at any time, with anybody.”

Maxwell – who was intimately involved with Epstein in the 1990s – testified that her work for him included hiring pool attendants, gardeners, chefs, housekeepers, butlers and chauffeurs for his numerous properties.

She said all staff she hired were “age appropriate adults”.

Maxwell also repeatedly tried to evade attorneys’ questions by saying she had no recollection of dozens of events put to her.

“I don’t recollect anything about a laundry basket of sex toys,” she said.

Ghislaine Maxwell fought to keep the deposition secret.

Getty Images North America

Maxwell also said that she had “never observed” Epstein having sex with a minor.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she replied when asked whether Epstein ran a pyramid scheme to recruit underage girls to give him sexual massages.

Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted in the criminal case, which covers alleged crimes from 1994 to 1997. She is also accused of sometimes participating in the alleged abuse.

Victims say they were farmed out to some of Epstein’s wealthy associates.

Giuffre claims she had sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew when she was 17 after being procured by Epstein, an allegation the royal has repeatedly and vehemently denied.

Scores of names were redacted in the deposition, in which Maxwell called Giuffre “an absolute total liar”.



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‘Intimate’ details of British socialite’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein to be released in court documents


(Getty Images)

Court documents detailing “intimate” details of Ghislaine Maxwell‘s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein have been unsealed and will be made public on Thursday, despite the British socialite’s legal battle to keep them secret.

The 2016 deposition relates to a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit Virginia Giuffre brought against Maxwell, in which the former alleges that Epstein, with help from Maxwell, kept her as a “sex slave”.

The deposition is being used by US state prosecutors in their case against Maxwell, who they allege helped Epstein recruit and groom underage girls for illegal sexual acts in the mid-1990s.

Maxwell was charged earlier this year and her trial has been scheduled for July 2021. She pleaded not guilty that she groomed and recruited underage girls for Epstein, who killed himself in a New York jail last year.

US district judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan directed that a transcript of Maxwell’s testimony and other documents be released by 9am EDT (1300 GMT) on Thursday.

Lawyers for Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and longtime associate, had argued she believed the deposition would remain confidential and that releasing it would violate her constitutional right against self-incrimination.

The lawyers had also argued that making the deposition public could imperil Maxwell’s ability to get a fair trial, because jurors might hold its contents against her.

“If the unsealing order goes into effect, it will forever let the cat out of the bag,” and “intimate, sensitive, and personal information” about Maxwell might “spread like wildfire across the Internet,” her lawyers said in August.

Maxwell was arrested on 2 July in Bradford, New Hampshire, where authorities said she was hiding on a property she bought in December in an all-cash transaction with her identity shielded.

She is locked up in a Brooklyn jail after the judge in her criminal case called her an unacceptable flight risk.

Maxwell’s deposition and other documents were cleared for release after the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Monday rejected her “meritless” arguments that her interests outweighed the presumption the public should see the materials.

Ms Giuffre, who has been one of Epstein’s most visible accusers, and the Miami Herald newspaper, which investigated Epstein’s conduct and successful bid in 2007 to avoid federal sex trafficking charges, had sought the unsealing.

Epstein killed himself at age 66 in August 2019 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges announced the previous month.

He had previously escaped federal prosecution by pleading guilty in 2008 to Florida state prostitution charges, an agreement now widely considered too lenient.

Epstein once counted US president Donald Trump, former US president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew as friends. They have not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Ms Giuffre has said she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the British prince when she was 17-years-old.

In an interview broadcast in December 2019, Ms Giuffre told BBC Panorama she had been brought to London in 2001 by Epstein and taken to meet the prince, one of three occasions when she claimed to have sex with Andrew.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Maxwell attorneys appeal to judges to keep deposition secret

Ghislaine Maxwell hires ‘super lawyer’ of Osama bin Laden’s henchman

Maxwell attorneys appeal to judges to keep deposition secret



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The Wall Street billionaire who stood by Jeffrey Epstein


It was not clear what kind of services Epstein provided to Black, whose $US9 billion fortune can buy him access to the best lawyers and accountants in the world. Epstein, though he styled himself as a “financial doctor” to wealthy clients, was a college dropout who had worked on Wall Street for just a few years, demonstrated no great skill as an investor, and had no formal training in tax and estate planning.

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“Mr Black received personal trusts and estates planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services from several financial and legal advisers, including Mr Epstein, during a six-year period, between 2012 and 2017,” said Stephanie Pillersdorf, a spokeswoman for Black. “The trusts and estate planning advice was vetted by leading auditors and law firms.”

The business relationship ended in 2018 because of a “fee dispute,” and Black stopped communicating with Epstein, she said.

The fees from Black help explain a mystery about Epstein’s wealth: how a man who left behind an estate worth more than $US600 million made money in the years after his most lucrative client, billionaire retail magnate Leslie H. Wexner, cut him off.

Some of the payments from Black are described in an internal report by Deutsche Bank, which served as Epstein’s primary banker from 2013 into 2019. The report was provided to regulators who fined the German bank over the summer for its failure to catch numerous red flags in Epstein’s financial activities.

Jeffrey Epstein, centre, left behind an estate worth more than $US600 million following his death.Credit:AP

Portions of the report reviewed by The New York Times describe a payment of $US22.5 million in 2017 by a company called BV70, which the bank said owned Black’s yacht, to Plan D, the company that managed Epstein’s Gulfstream jet. When an employee in Deutsche Bank’s anti-financial-crime division inquired about the payment, she was told by another bank employee that it was a fee for consulting services provided by Southern Trust, one of the dozens of entities Epstein operated in the Virgin Islands. There was no explanation for why the payment went to Plan D.

The Deutsche Bank report also shows that BV70 made a $US10 million donation in 2015 to a charitable foundation started by Epstein, Gratitude America, which made several million dollars in grants while Epstein was casting himself as a philanthropist. BV70 also planned to make another payment of $US10 million to Epstein for advisory work, according to the report, although it was unclear if that payment was ever made.

And in 2014, Epstein received several million dollars in fees from Narrows Holdings, a company that Black — the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art — has used to purchase much of his billion-dollar art collection, according to two of the people with knowledge of the transactions. The details of the services Epstein provided in exchange for those fees are also unclear.

Epstein portrayed himself as a financial guru to the wealthy, although for many years his chief client was Wexner, founder of L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret. Epstein was first publicly accused of engaging in sex with underage girls in 2006, and Wexner said he cut ties with Epstein at the end of the following year. (Wexner said last year that Epstein had misappropriated “vast sums” from him; Epstein had returned at least $US100 million to Wexner, The Times has reported.)

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to a state prostitution charge with a minor and served 13 months in a state jail as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors — an arrangement that was kept confidential at the time. He kept a low profile for the next decade, but after an investigation by The Miami Herald drew attention to his plea deal, federal prosecutors in New York charged Epstein with sex trafficking in July 2019. His death the next month in a Manhattan jail cell was ruled a suicide.

Black knew Epstein for decades — in 1997 he made Epstein one of the original trustees of what is today called the Debra and Leon Black Foundation — and was among the high-profile figures who maintained ties with him following his prostitution arrest. They included Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder; Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard; James E. Staley, now the chief executive of Barclays; and hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin and his wife, Eva.

Epstein frequently hosted Black at his New York mansion, usually meeting him for breakfast or lunch, according to four people familiar with their relationship. In 2012, while on a family vacation in the Caribbean, Black travelled by yacht to attend a cookout at Epstein’s private island residence in the US Virgin Islands, two of the people said.

In 2011, Epstein’s financial advisory firm — Financial Trust — joined Black and members of his family in investing in a small emissions control company, Environmental Solutions Worldwide, where two of Black’s sons serve as board members. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

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According to an archived version of one of Epstein’s websites, the men visited Black’s alma mater, Harvard, together. Although the university stopped accepting gifts from Epstein after his 2008 plea, according to a report by the university, Black had given at least $US5 million to professors, and Epstein’s staff members had “played a role in facilitating the Black donations.”

Business records from the Virgin Islands reviewed by The Times last year show how Epstein’s business suffered following his 2008 case. The conviction coincided with the fallout from the financial crisis, which cost Financial Trust $US150 million. The company took in just $US200,000 in fee income from 2008 to 2012 before closing down that year, the records show.

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Jeffrey Epstein ‘targeted pupil in woodland lair in boarding school grounds’


Sited in woods at a children’s fine arts boarding school, this is claimed to be a secret lair Jeffrey Epstein used to meet an underage victim.

The paedophile financier funded the cabin at the prestigious Interlochen Centre for the Arts in Michigan.

And he and alleged “madam” Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly targeted a pupil there.

Since Epstein’s suicide in August last year and Maxwell’s arrest in July, the FBI has probed sites including his mansions in New York, Florida and the Caribbean.

But sources claim agents quizzed a woman who says she first met Epstein and Maxwell at Interlochen.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

The Jeffrey Epstein Scholarship Lodge was revamped after the school cut ties with him and has been available to rent as The Green Lake Lodge.

One alleged victim is suing the paedophile’s estate for £19million – and papers also name Maxwell as a defendant. The woman, known as Jane Doe, alleges she was recruited at Interlochen in 1994 while a music student, aged 13.

Court papers claim the financier abused her for four years – and Maxwell, 58, “regularly facilitated” it and was “frequently present”.

Maxwell and Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts
Maxwell and Prince Andrew with Virginia Roberts

Doe claims she was also abused by the pair at his mansions in Palm Beach, New York and New Mexico.

Epstein kept details of the cabin, which he funded in 1994, in his infamous little black book under the words “Michigan Home” and “Epstein Lodge”. It also held the names of two students who attended the camp, where he was a donor from 1990 to 2003. As well as funding a cabin build, he hosted events for alumni at his New York home.

Ex-pupils claim they saw Epstein and Maxwell on campus – and he stayed at the lodge for a week in August 2000.

As well as renaming the cabin, the school removed all donor recognition in 2007 when it learned of the billionaire’s child sex conviction.

The cabin at the Interlochen Centre for the Arts in Michigan
The cabin at the Interlochen Centre for the Arts in Michigan

Interlochen said before it cut contact with him, Epstein “was permitted to use the lodge for up to two weeks per year” under a funding agreement. It added it “has no record of any other use by him beyond that one week in August 2000”.

A previous statement said: “We have no record of any complaint raised against Mr Epstein at Interlochen.” The school added that ­“policies would not have permitted Mr Epstein any unsupervised access to students”.

But Jane Doe’s claims are echoed by ex-Interlochen pupil Melissa Solomon.

The Centre has now cut ties with Epstein
The Centre has now cut ties with Epstein

The cellist alleges she met Epstein and Maxwell there aged 14 and spent six years in their world but was not abused.

She claims they fell out when she refused to recruit girls for Epstein from Juilliard School in New York and snubbed a meeting with their pal Prince Andrew.

Epstein was found hanged aged 66 while being held in Manhattan for trial for underage sex trafficking.

Maxwell is being held in Brooklyn and denies recruiting, grooming and abusing three alleged victims, including a girl as young as 14, between 1994 and 1997.

If convicted, she faces up to 35 years. Interlochen was contacted for comment.





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How Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest upended the filming of ‘Surviving Jeffrey Epstein’


The filmmakers behind “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” moved quickly when Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on federal charges that she acted as a recruiter for the financier’s sexual abuse.

The fourth episode of the new Lifetime docuseries, which was intended to be a round-table with survivors, was redone to focus on Maxwell’s alleged crimes and her grooming of potential victims.

Filmmakers also incorporated more of Maxwell’s story into the series overall and conducted additional interviews. The four-part series was delivered at Lifetime just days before its Sunday premiere.

“If your timing can be great, our timing was great,” said executive producer Robert Friedman.

This combination of photos released by Lifetime shows participants in the new docuseries “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” Top row from left: Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Teresa Helm, Jena Lisa Jones, Kiki, Rachel Benavidez, Marijke Chartouni, Chaunte Davies, and Courtney Wild. The series premieres on Sunday.
Lifetime via AP

This wasn’t the first time the filmmakers had to regroup. Production was underway when the 66-year-old Epstein killed himself in his New York City prison cell last August after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing girls as young as 14 and young women in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. In lawsuits, women say the abuse spanned decades.

Ricki Stern, a co-producer and co-director, said Epstein’s death “opened up the opportunity to say to their interview subjects, ‘You don’t have to hold anything back. The guy is dead.’ We can now speak in some ways more openly and honestly and with details that I think had he not been found dead, there may have been more legal maneuvering and careful consideration around.”

However, adds co-producer and co-director Anne Sundberg, for the victims, “there was a feeling of real helplessness in the wake of Epstein’s death and with all the battles over the settlement of his estate, there was a sense there will never be any clarity or justice. To finally have a shot at it (after Maxwell’s arrest) is remarkable.”

Maxwell’s arrest just a month before the series’ premiere triggered “a race, but definitely worth it” said Sundberg. ”We’re about to pass out,” joked Friedman. “The team has been great. We’re working to tell a story basically in real time.”

Maxwell, 58, incarcerated since her July 2 arrest at her New Hampshire estate, has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she sometimes joined in the abuse of the girls, which included one who was 14.

As Maxwell’s case plays out in court, Friedman says the intention is “to tell this as a continuing story.”

Lifetime is also responsible for the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated “Surviving R. Kelly.” It wasn’t until after the airing of that series in 2019 that the investigation into the singer intensified under a global spotlight. Kelly is now in jail, facing charges on a variety of crimes in three states.

Lifetime has partnered with Rise, which hopes to create a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors, to run a public service announcement featuring Epstein survivors during the airings of the documentary to call for a sexual assault survivors’ bills of rights. It will also air a PSA from the anti-sexual assault organization, RAINN, to provide hotline information and resources for those in need.

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Ghislaine Maxwell seeks bail, citing coronavirus, and denies Jeffrey Epstein charges


FILE PHOTO: Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, speaks at a news conference on oceans and sustainable development at the United Nations in New York, U.S. June 25, 2013 in this screengrab taken from United Nations TV file footage. UNTV/Handout via REUTERS

July 11, 2020

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime associate of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, on Friday forcefully denied charges she lured underage girls for him to sexually abuse and said she deserves bail, citing the risk she might contract the coronavirus in jail.

Maxwell, 58, filed her request in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, eight days after being arrested in New Hampshire, where authorities said she had been hiding at a sprawling property she bought while shielding her identity.

A spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Maxwell has been housed since Monday at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a Brooklyn jail.

She said her detention there put her at “significant risk” of contracting the coronavirus, after 55 inmates and staff had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 30.

Maxwell faces six criminal charges, including four related to transporting minors for illegal sexual acts, and two for perjury in depositions about her role in Epstein’s abuses.

In Friday’s filing, Maxwell said she “vigorously denies the charges” and intends to fight them.

Her arraignment is on July 14, and prosecutors want her detained until trial. Maxwell is the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell.

Epstein was found hanged last Aug. 10 in jail at age 66, in a death ruled a suicide.

He had before his arrest socialized over the years with many prominent people including Britain’s Prince Andrew, U.S. President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton.

MEDIA CRUSH

Maxwell’s proposed bail package includes a $5 million bond, the surrender of her passports, “stringent” travel restrictions, and home detention with electronic monitoring.

She said she will continue needing security guards to ensure her safety.

Maxwell also maintained she is not a flight risk, claiming to have remained in the United States since Epstein’s arrest.

She “did not flee, but rather left the public eye, for the entirely understandable purpose of protecting herself and those close to her from the crush of media and online attention and its very real harms,” the filing said.

Friday’s filing also raised several legal challenges to the indictment, including that Epstein’s 2007 nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. government covered “any potential co-conspirators.”

In seeking Maxwell’s continued detention, prosecutors called her an “extreme risk” of flight because of the possible long prison term, her wealth, her multiple passports and citizenships, and her having “absolutely no reason to stay.”

The case is U.S. v. Maxwell, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 20-cr-00330.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler, Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis)





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Deutsche Bank hit with $US150 million fine over links to Jeffrey Epstein


New York found “significant compliance failures” in Deutsche Bank’s dealings with Epstein, who the bank had considered “high-risk”. It also knew of Epstein’s history of sex trafficking and abuse, including his 2007 guilty plea to state prostitution charges, yet ignored these “red flags” and processed hundreds of transactions “obviously implicated” by his past.

In its statement New York also criticised unrelated dealings by Germany’s largest bank with Danske Bank’s Estonia branch, which is embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal, and the Federal Bank of the Middle East.

Epstein was a Deutsche Bank client from August 2013 to December 2018, when the relationship ended after further negative press surfaced about his misconduct.

The transactions processed by the German bank included payments to alleged accomplices, lawyers, victims, Russian models and women with Eastern European surnames, and “suspicious” cash withdrawals averaging $US200,000 a year.

‘Not suspicious’

Email traffic showed that Deutsche Bank weighed the risks of retaining Epstein as a client but put them aside, enticed by the millions of dollars in annual revenue he might generate.

According to a consent order, two Deutsche Bank employees visited Epstein in his New York home in early 2015 and asked about new allegations of sex with underage girls.

But they appeared “satisfied” by Epstein’s response and did nothing to verify the allegations, the consent order said.

The bank also chose in 2017 not to scrutinise payments to a Russian model and a Russian publicity agent. “Since this type of activity is normal for this client it is not deemed suspicious,” a compliance monitor said in an email.

New York said Epstein had more than 40 Deutsche Bank accounts, some of which were for the “Butterfly Trust”, whose beneficiaries included co-conspirators in alleged sexual abuse.

This created a risk that payments could be used to “further or cover up criminal activity and perhaps even to endanger more young women,” the New York settlement, which reflected Deutsche Bank’s cooperation over several years, revealed.

Accepting Epstein as a client “was a critical mistake and should never have happened,” Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Christian Sewing told staff in a memo.

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The New York regulator said Deutsche Bank was also sanctioned for ignoring warning signs while processing billions of euros of payments for Danske Bank, which it ranked as “high-risk” in 2007, before shortly afterwards identifying alerts on its foreign customers with Russian or Latvian connections.

The German bank ignored internal warnings of the risks until late 2015, transferring at least $US150 billion from Russia and other former Soviet states during that time.

Deutsche Bank also acknowledged deficiencies in its monitoring of Danske Estonia and FBME.

“We all have to help ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again,” Sewing said.

❏ Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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Deutsche Bank agrees to $150 million penalty for Jeffrey Epstein dealings


Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $150 million to settle claims that it broke compliance rules in its dealings with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, New York state announced Tuesday.

The penalty was announced in a release by Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell.

“Despite knowing Mr. Epstein’s terrible criminal history, the Bank inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions,” Lacewell said.

According to the release, the agreement marked the first enforcement action by a regulator against a financial institution for dealings with the financier.

Epstein killed himself last August in a Manhattan federal jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

His ex-girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested last week and brought to New York City to face charges she recruited girls for Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s. In civil lawsuits, she has denied involvement. Her Manhattan federal court arraignment is likely next week.

In a statement, the German bank said the settlement with New York state “reflects our unreserved and transparent cooperation with our regulator.”

The bank said it had invested almost $1 billion to improve its training and controls and had boosted its staff overseeing the work to more than 1,500 employees “to continue enhancing our anti-financial crime capabilities.”

In a statement, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said the bank failed to prevent millions of dollars in suspicious transactions.

Lacewell said the bank failed to properly monitor Epstein’s account activity despite publicly available information about Epstein’s crimes.

The financier with U.S. residences in Manhattan, Florida and New Mexico, along with homes in Paris and the Virgin Islands, had pleaded guilty to criminal sex abuse charges in Florida over a decade ago and was a registered sex offender before his July 2019 arrest on federal sex crime charges.

Lacewell said the bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars that, “at the very least, should have prompted additional scrutiny in light of Mr. Epstein’s history.”

She said some payments that should have drawn scrutiny included money paid to people publicly alleged to have been Mr. Epstein’s co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women; settlement payments totaling over $7 million and over $6 million in legal fees for Epstein and co-conspirators.

Other payments went to Russian models and transactions for women’s school tuition, hotel and rent expenses, she said, along with suspicious cash withdrawals totaling over $800,000 in a four-year stretch.

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