In 2013 — six years after Jeffrey Epstein agreed to a plea deal that saved him from charges related to abusing as many as 36 alleged victims — Deutsche Bank decided to onboard him as a client. The justification, naturally, was because the bank thought the convicted sex offender would make them money. According to an email published on Tuesday, Epstein’s relationship manager — the liaison who maintains client relationships — estimated that bringing him on could generate “flows of $100-300 [million]” with “revenue of $2-4 million annually over time.” And despite a memo prepared that listed Epstein’s criminal history, the bank encouraged him to open an account.
The new details on Epstein’s relationship with the lender come as part of a consent order that Deutsche Bank signed off on with the New York State Department of Financial Services, admitting to “significant compliance failures” in regards to Epstein’s account. In the order — which also details Deutsche’s lax relationship with two institutions accused of money laundering and requires the bank to pay a $150 million fine — regulators describe how they failed to account for suspicious activity in Epstein’s transactions.
According to DFS superintendent Linda Lacewell, Deutsche “inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions” despite being aware of “Mr. Epstein’s terrible criminal history.” Bloomberg details some of the bank’s more egregious failures:
Soon after moving his funds to Deutsche Bank, Epstein began sending out payments of more than $10,000 to individuals who had been identified in news accounts as his co-conspirators. Many of the payments came out of an entity created by Epstein called the “Butterfly Trust” …
Over time, according to the New York regulator, Epstein paid out $2.65 million to his co-conspirators as well as various “women with Eastern European surnames,” ostensibly for hotel expenses, schooling and rent. When a bank compliance officer raised concerns about a transfer to one of the Russian bank accounts, an Epstein accountant characterized it as a tuition payment.
Epstein also paid out $7 million in apparent legal settlements and another $6 million to pay his own legal expenses and those of his co-conspirators, the regulator said.
The consent order also describes Epstein’s personal lawyer’s interactions with the bank, including a May 2014 question in which they asked how often he could come in as a third party and withdraw cash without alerting authorities. “Is it once a week?” the attorney asked. “Twice a week? Once every other week?” Though the bank did not have an answer on record, the attorney returned as many as 100 times to collect $7,500 per trip, which is the max amount that a third party can withdraw without the bank informing regulators.
Even when Deutsche Bank kicked Epstein as a client following the 2018 report on his alleged sex-trafficking ring by Julie K. Brown in the Miami Herald, he was reportedly allowed a “soft landing” and was able to access his accounts until May 2019, just two months before his arrest.