The Trust 1953, heir to Jeffrey Epstein's fortune will pay $105 million to the Virgin Islands. It is part of an agreement that both parties have reached to settle claims made by the territory's authorities. The money is compensation for the late tycoon's use of the island to carry out his sex trafficking operations.
The signing of the agreement brings to an end a nearly three-year litigation following a complaint filed by Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise N. George against the Epstein estate. In the lawsuit, George claims that the U.S. territory was duped into granting significant tax benefits to the tycoon's Southern Trust Company. Due to this, the financier was able to sexually abuse young girls while maintaining his very high standard of living in his home on the islands for years.
The money will go to social services for the victims
Trust 1953's lawyers agreed to pay more than $80 million in cash to repay the tax benefits it received from the islands. In addition, the government will receive half of the proceeds from the sale of Little Saint James, the private island where the businessman lived. It is currently valued at around $55 million. Administration proceeds from the sale will be given to a government-run trust that will provide counseling and social services to the victims.
The cash portion of the payment caused the most significant delays to the signing, as the tycoon's estate (valued at around $600 million) only had $22 million in cash after paying compensation to the victims and paying off the lawyers and taxes. The rest are locked up in investments. The Virgin Islands granted the estate one year to collect and pay the money.
More than $129 million for 125 victims
Denise George made it a priority to ensure that victims were adequately compensated. As a result, more than 125 victims have received more than $129 million through a restitution fund created by Epstein's estate and approved by the prosecutor's office. In addition, the heirs have disbursed around $30 million to other victims.
Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide under bizarre circumstances while in a New York jail awaiting trial. Two days before his death, the billionaire drafted his will, leaving his entire estate (valued at $634 million at the time) to the 1953 Trust. It is believed that he did this to prevent the beneficiaries of his assets from getting wrapped up in the scandal.
Suing JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank
On November 25, a group of victims sued JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank for collaborating in Epstein's criminal activities. According to the plaintiffs, both entities "turned a blind eye to suspicious withdrawals and payments from Epstein's accounts.” In addition, they accuse them of continuing to work with him despite his conviction in 2008 by a Florida court for soliciting prostitution from a minor.