(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon testified that then-private banking head Mary Erdoes and then-general counsel Stephen Cutler could have decided to drop Jeffrey Epstein as a bank client after accounts of his sex-trafficking emerged.

Dimon described the decision-making process in his May 26 deposition in two lawsuits that accuse the bank of knowingly benefiting from Epstein’s crimes. The CEO said Cutler, as JPMorgan’s top in-house lawyer, would have been the “ultimate decider” in retaining Epstein as a client.

A transcript of Dimon’s deposition was released Wednesday with agreement of JPMorgan and the plaintiffs. 

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan said in a statement that, had the bank believed Epstein was engaged in a sex trafficking operation, he “would not have been retained as a client.” Epstein was a client of JPMorgan between 1998 and 2013.

Throughout the deposition, Dimon steadfastly denied ever meeting Epstein or taking part in any decisions about his accounts at the bank. The CEO said he didn’t even know who Epstein was until 2019, when the financier was arrested, charged with sex-trafficking and subsequently found dead in his jail cell.

Read More: Jamie Dimon Said He Never Heard of Jeffrey Epstein Before 2019

“I don’t recall knowing anything about Jeffrey Epstein until the stories broke sometime in 2019,” he said. “And I was surprised that I didn’t even — had never even heard of the guy, pretty much, and how involved he was with so many people.”

David Boies, an attorney for Doe who questioned Dimon during the deposition, on Thursday expressed skepticism about the CEO’s comment.

“If, as he claims, Mr Dimon was the only person in New York who never heard of Epstein before July 2019, that is an indictment, not a defense,” Boies said in a statement. 

Dimon testified that his executives didn’t notify him when Epstein was indicted for soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida in 2006. He also said neither Erdoes, Staley nor Cutler discussed Epstein with him in 2008 and 2010 when further press reports surfaced about investigations into his sexual misconduct.

‘The Right Thing’

Dimon was asked about two emails Cutler sent in July 2011 to senior JPMorgan executives, including Erdoes and Staley. In the first email, Cutler stated that Epstein was “not an honorable person in any way” and that “he should not be a client.” In the second, which was sent only to Erdoes, the general counsel said the bank “should put it and him behind us” and that Epstein wasn’t “a person we should do business with, period.” 

The CEO said that he wasn’t aware of either email at the time. Asked if Erdoes and Jes Staley had made the decision to retain Epstein as a client, Dimon said Cutler was authorized to veto them as general counsel.

“I have the utmost respect for Steve Cutler,” Dimon said. “He’s one of the finest individuals and lawyers I know. He had the ability to override it. If he allowed them to make that judgment, it’s because he didn’t step in and say, ‘you have to go.’ But he could have done that.”

Dimon also said in the deposition that he had “trust and respect” in both Erdoes and Cutler. “I think they were both trying to do the right thing,” he said.

Cutler, who is now at law firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, didn’t respond to a request for comment. The former general counsel was also deposed last week. Emails and documents filed in court showed Cutler, Erdoes and former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley met several times between 2008 and 2011 to address the risks Epstein posed.

‘Hot Potato’

Boies said Dimon’s testimony showed that JPMorgan’s top executives knew “for years” that Epstein was a sex offender and withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to fund what he was doing. 

In a separate statement, Brad Edwards, another lawyer for Doe, said JPMorgan bankers were pointing the finger at each other, “claiming this hot potato was someone else’s fault.”

Erdoes was deposed in March, and Staley is set to be deposed in June, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Dimon’s deposition, which took place at JPMorgan’s New York City office, was part of two lawsuits, one filed by a Jane Doe Epstein victim and the other by the US Virgin Islands. JPMorgan had initially fought efforts to have Dimon questioned, arguing he had no involvement in decisions about Epstein’s accounts. 

The bank cut ties with Epstein in 2013 after Staley, who looked after Epstein as a client, left JPMorgan and joined hedge fund Blue Mountain Capital. Staley became CEO of Barclays Plc in 2015 but stepped down in 2021 over his relationship with Epstein. Erdoes personally went to Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse to fire him, Dimon recalled. 

Read More: Jes Staley Loses Bid to Dismiss JPMorgan’s Epstein Suit

JPMorgan has filed its own lawsuit against Staley, accusing the former executive of misleadingly vouching for Epstein and seeking to hold him responsible for any liability the bank incurs from the Epstein suits. A lawyer for Staley, who has denied JPMorgan’s allegations, also participated in Dimon’s deposition. 

More than 1,200 emails exchanged between Epstein and Staley while he was at JPMorgan, and filed in the lawsuits, detailed the depth of their friendship. Staley spent time on Epstein’s private island in the USVI, according to the emails, and the pair discussed Disney princesses, an apparent reference to women.

Dimon was asked several times about communications between Staley and Epstein, some of which referenced him. In one instance, he was questioned about a February 2010 message to Epstein by an assistant who asked what kind of food should be provided for evening appointments with “Jes and Jamie,” as well as third person whose name was redacted.

“I have never had an appointment with Jeff Epstein,” Dimon responded. “I’ve never met Jeff Epstein. I never knew Jeff Epstein. I never went to Jeff Epstein’s house. I never had a meal with Jeff Epstein. I have no idea what they’re referring to here.”

‘Never Would Have Happened’

Dimon was also asked several times about his relationship with Staley. The CEO largely said he didn’t recall times when he’d praised the former executive. But he seemed to have a better memory of his reasons for asking Staley to leave JPMorgan in 2013.

One reason, Dimon said, was that Staley “was not doing a good job running the investment bank.” But the CEO said Staley was also asked to leave in part because of unauthorized comments he made to the press about the “London Whale” trading losses that roiled the bank in 2012.

Dimon testified that Staley actually told him that he was hoping to get the CEO pushed out over the London Whale and take the top job himself.

“Which, of course, just so you know, never would have happened,” Dimon said, adding that “the board never would have put him in that job.”

The cases are Jane Doe 1 v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10019 and USVI v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 22-cv-10904-UA, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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