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Jeffrey Epstein's estate settles racketeering suit with Virgin Islands AG

Patricia Hurtado, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — The co-executors of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate have agreed to a $105 million settlement to resolve U.S. Virgin Islands’ racketeering claims against the late financier and corporate entities he controlled, a lawyer for the estate said Wednesday.

Under the terms of the deal, the estate and 10 Epstein-created entities will pay the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands $105 million in cash plus half of the proceeds from the sale of Little St. James, the secluded island on which Epstein lived, according to a statement released by Denise George.

The estate has also agreed to pay $450,00 to remediate environmental damage around Great St. James, the second island Epstein owned, after the U.S. Virgin Islands found that he’d razed the remains of a centuries-old historical structures which once housed enslaved workers to make room for his development, George said.

“This settlement restores the faith of the People of the Virgin Islands that its laws will be enforced, without fear or favor, against those who break them,” George said in a statement. “We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking.”

George said the accord is believed to be the largest monetary settlement in the history of the U.S. Virgin Islands, while the estate’s co-executors said the settlement was consistent with their intent and practice to resolve claims related to Epstein’s misconduct.

George sued the estate in 2020, alleging violation of the territory’s Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and seeking civil penalties, damages, forfeiture of Epstein’s private islands in the territory and restitution for local women who accused him of abuse. George alleged the estate helped Epstein traffic dozens of young women and underage girls to Little St. James where they were sexually abused.

But Wednesday’s accord does not include any admission or concession of liability or fault by the estate or any other parties, according to Daniel Weiner, a partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed in New York.

“The co-executors emphatically deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part,” Weiner said in a statement. “The co-executors ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interests.”

 

Under the terms of the accord, the estate will sell both of Epstein’s private islands to independent third parties to fund the settlement, George said, and the funds will be used to provide counseling and other programs to help Virgin Islands residents who are victims of sexual assault.

Epstein was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan in July 2019, accused of sex-trafficking of girls. He was found dead in his federal jail cell a month later while awaiting trial, in what authorities ruled a suicide. Ghislaine Maxwell, his former girlfriend, was sentenced in June to almost 20 years in prison after being convicted of sex-trafficking last year.

The accord will also return more than $80 million in economic tax benefits that Epstein and his co-defendants fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise, George said, after an Epstein entity called Southern Trust made misrepresentations to the Virgin Island authorities regarding its qualifications for certain tax benefits.

Weiner said the estate intends to meet all its obligations under the accord consistent with the co-executors’ fiduciary responsibilities and will wind down its remaining activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands “as soon as practicable.”

The estate also agreed to provide documents to assist the Government’s ongoing investigations, George said in a statement.

The Epstein Victims Compensation Fund set up by the co-executors successfully concluded and paid more than $121 million to 136 individuals, Weiner said.

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