US Virgin Islands reach $105m settlement with Epstein estate

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. Virgin Islands announced Wednesday that it has reached a settlement of more than $105 million in a sex trafficking case against the estate of financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The settlement ends a nearly three-year legal saga for US homeland officials, who sought to hold Epstein accountable after he was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls and causing environmental damage on two small islands he owned in the United States. He is. The islands will be sold as part of the deal.

“This settlement restores the faith of the people of the Virgin Islands that their laws will be enforced, without fear or favor, against those who break them,” Attorney General Denise George said.

Epstein’s estate has agreed to pay the territorial government $105 million in cash and half of the proceeds from the sale of Little St. James Island where Epstein owned a home and authorities allege many of his crimes were occurred.

The estate will also pay $450,000 to repair environmental damage on Great St. James, another island owned by Epstein where authorities say he removed the ruins of historic colonial-era slave structures.

Money from the sale of Little St. James Island will be placed in a government trust to fund projects, organizations, councils and other activities to help residents who have been sexually abused, officials said. .

“We owe it to those who have been so deeply hurt to make changes that will help avert the next round of victims,” said George, who added that she had met three alleged victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation on Little St. James Island.

Additionally, the estate will yield more than $80 million in economic tax benefits that U.S. Virgin Islands officials say Epstein and his co-defendants “fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise.”

The government has previously accused a company owned by Epstein known as Southern Trust Co. of making fraudulent misrepresentations to qualify for the benefits.

Daniel Weiner, an attorney for Epstein’s estate, sent a statement to The Associated Press saying the settlement does not include any admission or concession of liability or wrongdoing on the part of the estate or anyone else.

“The co-executors deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part,” he wrote. “The co-executors have ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interests of the estate.”

Weiner also noted that the estate paid more than $121 million to 136 people through a victim compensation fund.

Epstein committed suicide in a federal prison in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial. He had pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *