U.S. Virgin Islands officials and the estate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein have agreed to settle accusations of sex trafficking for $105 million, the island chain’s Department of Justice announced Thursday.
Epstein’s estate, along with 10 Epstein-affiliated entities, and fellow defendants and estate co-executors Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn will pay $105 million as well as half of the proceeds from the sale of Little St. James, an island where Epstein resided and is alleged to have committed sex crimes.
An additional $450,000 will be spent to repair damage on Great St. James, another Epstein-owned island, where the financier “razed the remains of centuries’-old historical structures of enslaved workers to make room for his development,” according to the VIDOJ.
Money from economic development tax benefits used to fund Epstein’s enterprises in the islands, some $80 million, also will be returned to the Virgin Islands government. Epstein’s Southern Trust Co. is accused of having committed fraud by falsely claiming eligibility for benefits.
“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. We are sending a clear message that the Virgin Islands will not serve as a haven for human trafficking,” said Denise George, attorney general for the Virgin Islands.
The settlement does not include any admission of guilt or liability by Epstein’s estate or Mr. Indyke and Mr. Kahn.
“The co-executors deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part. The co-executors ultimately concluded that the settlement is in the best interest of the estate,” Epstein estate attorney Daniel Weiner told The Associated Press.
Epstein allegedly committed suicide in prison in 2019. He pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking and of sexually abusing dozens of young women, some as young as 14.
The law enforcement action against Epstein’s estate by the U.S. Virgin Islands began in 2020.
“Our work has been inspired, humbled and fortified by the strength and courage of all of those who survived Epstein’s abuse. I am grateful to Epstein’s survivors and their attorneys for their cooperation throughout the investigation,” Ms. George said.