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Epstein’s Longtime Accountant Sheds Light on Disgraced Financier’s Businesses

Jeffrey Epstein in 2017. His accountant for 14 years, Richard Kahn, said in a confidential deposition that he had learned about the worst of Mr. Epstein’s activities only after his death.Credit…New York State Sex Offender Registry, via Associated Press

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s closest business associates testified in May that he was unaware during his employment of allegations that the financier had sexually abused scores of teenage girls and young women, two people briefed on the matter said.

Richard Kahn, who was Mr. Epstein’s accountant for 14 years, said in a confidential deposition that he had learned about the worst of Mr. Epstein’s activities only after his death, the people said. Mr. Epstein killed himself while being held in a federal jail on sex trafficking charges after his July 2019 arrest.

The deposition was taken in connection with a class-action lawsuit that accused JPMorgan Chase of having facilitated Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking during the years he was a customer. JPMorgan agreed last year to pay $290 million to nearly 200 victims in a settlement.

The two people briefed on Mr. Kahn’s testimony, who requested anonymity because the deposition has not been made public, said he had been questioned about topics including cash paid to women associated with Mr. Epstein and allegations that the financier coerced some into same-sex marriages.

Mr. Kahn said that he had been unaware that any woman was being abused and that none had ever asked for help, according to the people, who described some of his testimony.

Mr. Kahn and Darren Indyke, a longtime lawyer to Mr. Epstein, were responsible for managing some of the financier’s business affairs. Mr. Kahn, who has not talked publicly about his time with Mr. Epstein, said during the deposition that he had met with him at least once every three weeks, but said he never did Mr. Epstein’s taxes. Mr. Epstein named both men coexecutors of his onetime $600 million estate and they set up a process that has provided about $155 million in restitution to Mr. Epstein’s victims.

A lawyer for Mr. Epstein’s estate declined to comment.

Mr. Kahn said in the deposition that he did not know how much cash had been kept in a safe at his Manhattan office to reimburse or pay some of Mr. Epstein’s employees and female associates, whom the sources said Mr. Kahn had described as being Mr. Epstein’s “assistants.” Mr. Kahn said he had not been directly involved with paying the women, who he said would run errands for Mr. Epstein and travel with him. Mr. Kahn said he had helped a few women open bank accounts. Mr. Kahn said Mr. Epstein would sometimes ask him to run itemized reports detailing a particular woman’s spending habits.

Some lawsuits against Mr. Epstein’s estate have charged that he pressured six women to marry each other in order to help some with their immigration status. In the testimony, Mr. Kahn said that he knew that several women associated with Mr. Epstein had married each other, but he did not know the details. He also said he did not know whether Mr. Epstein had arranged the same-sex marriages, which occurred after those unions became legal in New York. Mr. Kahn said he had prepared tax returns for one of the couples. All of the couples have since divorced.

Mr. Kahn said he was aware Mr. Epstein, who considered himself a tax and estate planning expert, had 10 or fewer business clients. He said he was not at liberty to name them because of confidentiality agreements. Mr. Kahn said he had sat in on some of Mr. Epstein’s client meetings, according to the sources. He said much of what the financier had done involved reviewing clients’ holdings and going over various tax implications and strategies for their heirs.

Mr. Kahn said one of Mr. Epstein’s female victims had received a “carve-out” provision in a settlement with the estate that would permit her to pursue claims, if any, against Leon Black, the private equity billionaire, and James E. Staley, a former top JPMorgan executive. He said he believed another victim had been granted a similar arrangement. In a court hearing last year, it was disclosed that the lead Jane Doe plaintiff in a separate class-action lawsuit involving Deutsche Bank had gotten such a settlement carve out.

Lawyers for Mr. Staley did not respond to a request for comment.

Susan Estrich, a lawyer for Mr. Black, who was one of Mr. Epstein’s biggest tax and estate clients, said that “there was no suggestion that Mr. Black engaged in the sex trafficking which Mr. Epstein” and to suggest otherwise “would be false and defamatory.”

Mr. Kahn said that as of last spring the estate’s assets were probably worth about $40 million after taking into account settlements and expenses. He said any remaining assets would be distributed according to the terms of a trust Mr. Kahn had described as poorly drafted.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com