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New York State Division of Criminal Justice via Reuters

Deutsche Bank has got some 'splaining to do when it comes to Jeffrey Epstein. When JPMorgan Chase dropped Epstein as a client in 2013 over "reputational concerns," DB was only too happy step in and hold the piles of cash he accumulated doing ... well, no one exactly knows what. But his bail memo listed upwards of $500 million is assets, so whatever it was, it was lucrative! Epstein parked his holdings at DB, including $110 million in one account alone, and they all lived happily ever after.

Or maybe not. Because, five years later when the Miami Herald started digging into Epstein's plea deal and interviewing girls he'd abused, the bank started to get cold feet. And it only took DB six months to unwind their relationship with Epstein and close his many accounts. But don't worry, because The Wall Street Journal's sources say, "Bank executives believe they severed the lender's relationship fully with Mr. Epstein by the end of June." Which is ... a whole three weeks ago!


To be fair, sources told the New York Times that DB's ancient computers bear some of the blame: "On a number of occasions, Deutsche Bank executives had thought they had shut down all of Mr. Epstein's accounts, only to learn that there were others that they had not previously been aware of[.]" (Oh, Windows 95, you sly minx!) Besides which, Epstein appears to have controlled dozens of accounts, some of which were corporate, and some where he executed trades on behalf of third parties.

"People who have known Mr. Epstein say that over the years he obtained authorization to trade through accounts of associates, sometimes investing money for them or otherwise directing transactions," the Journal reports. For DB's sake, they better hope every "i" was dotted and all the "t's" were crossed on those authorizations, because it's a virtual certainty that New York Attorney General Letitia James is about to march in the front door with a subpoena for everything they've got on this guy.

Did Epstein route the $350,000 in payments to potential witnesses against him through DB? Dunno, 'cause they're not saying. But when they were closing out his accounts this year, the bank did discover a handful of transactions that prompted them to file a suspicious activity report to the Treasury Department. In fact, the Times reports that anti-money laundering compliance officers raised concerns five years ago about Epstein, from fear that his toxic reputation might come around to bite Deutsche in the ass, and because of "potentially illegal activity in one of Mr. Epstein's accounts, including transactions in which money was moving outside the United States." No one can confirm if the 2015-2016 transactions were kicked up to Treasury, but they learned their lesson for sure by 2019, so it's all good, right?

Quite apart from Epstein, Deutsche has been suffering some major "reputational harms" of its own lately, with a federal investigation of money laundering at the institution, an inquiry by the New York attorney general about loans to Donald Trump and his family, a $3.5 billion loss in the second quarter, and 18,000 layoffs this month alone. As California Rep. Katie Porter said this week on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell, "They seem to be the lender of last resort for unsavory characters. So if you're a Russian oligarch, if you're a pedophile, if you're President Trump — you give Deutsche Bank a call." Woof.

Hey, you know who's not being sucked in to the Epstein inferno right now? JPMorgan Chase, who decided that it was bad business to do business with bad, bad men.

AND ONE MORE THING: We are aware that Jeffrey Epstein has reportedly been hospitalized for a possible suicide attempt in his jail cell. We're not crying a river for that guy either, to be honest. But the rules for commenting radicals still apply. Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center is not fit for habitation, not even for a vile pedophile who should rot in hell. So make like Melania and #BeBest, please and thank you.

[WSJ / NYT]

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