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Two of Epstein’s Closest Advisers Are Sued by His Victims

by Isabella Walker
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Lawyers representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein sued two of the disgraced financier’s closest advisers on Friday, accusing them of “aiding, abetting and facilitating” his sex trafficking of young women and teenage girls.

The civil suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, seeks class action status on behalf of Mr. Epstein’s many victims. It comes just a few months after two big banks agreed to pay hundreds of millions dollars to Mr. Epstein’s victims to settle lawsuits that claimed the banks had enabled his activities.

The newest lawsuit seeks money damages from Mr. Epstein’s longtime personal lawyer, Darren Indyke, and his longtime accountant, Richard Kahn. The lawsuit claims the two men helped build “the complex financial infrastructure” that Mr. Epstein relied on to sexually abuse hundreds of young women and teenage girls for at least two decades.

The complaint was filed on behalf of one unidentified female victim of Mr. Epstein and a woman, Danielle Bensky, who said she was an aspiring dancer in 2004 when Mr. Epstein sexually abused her. Over time, the complaint said, Ms. Bensky “was coerced into a cultlike life controlled and manipulated by Epstein” and feared he would harm her.

The lawsuit said Mr. Indyke and Mr. Kahn had played major roles in setting up their former employer’s many companies that were involved in funneling millions of dollars in cash payments and wire transfers to victims. The lawsuit also said the men had contributed to a “sham” same-sex-marriage scheme that Mr. Epstein orchestrated to help some of his female assistants with their immigration status.

Mr. Indyke and Mr. Kahn, who are also serving as executors of Mr. Epstein’s estate, “were richly compensated” by Mr. Epstein, including being named as beneficiaries of a trust that Mr. Epstein used to dole out money to people who worked for him. The complaint said the same Butterfly Trust had also paid out money to “young women with Eastern European surnames” and Ghislaine Maxwell, a former business associate and confidante of Mr. Epstein’s who was convicted in 2021 on federal charges of conspiring in his sex-trafficking operation.

Ms. Maxwell was indicted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan about a year after Mr. Epstein’s July 2019 arrest on federal sex-trafficking charges. A month later, Mr. Epstein killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan. Ms. Maxwell is the only person in the United States associated with Mr. Epstein to have been convicted of a crime.

The lawsuit against Mr. Indyke and Mr. Kahn said that given their long tenure working for Mr. Epstein, they should have known that their legal, accounting and business services enabled his activities. Mr. Indyke began working for Mr. Epstein in 1995, and Mr. Kahn began working as his in-house accountant in 2005.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyers with Boies Schiller Flexner, who were part of a group of lawyers who earlier sued JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank on behalf of Mr. Epstein’s victims. Those lawsuits claimed that the banks had ignored red flags about Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking as the institutions generated big fees from handling hundreds of millions of dollars in money transfers for him. JPMorgan paid $290 million to settle the lawsuit, and Deutsche paid $75 million to resolve a similar lawsuit.

Daniel Weiner, a lawyer for the estate and for Mr. Indyke and Mr. Kahn, said in a statement that both men “emphatically reject the allegations of wrongdoing” and called the claims “baseless and legally frivolous.”

David Boies, a lawyer for the victims, said Mr. Epstein’s sex trafficking would not have lasted so long “without the support and assistance of key collaborators.”

In the course of the litigation with JPMorgan, Mr. Kahn said in a deposition that he had learned about the worst of Mr. Epstein’s activities only after his former employer’s death in August 2019. In the confidential deposition, which was reported earlier by The New York Times, Mr. Kahn said none of Mr. Epstein’s female “assistants” had ever complained to him about Mr. Epstein’s conduct.

After Mr. Epstein’s death, Mr. Kahn and Mr. Indyke set up a process that has provided about $155 million in restitution to more than 125 victims. Those settlements have tended to include broad releases for some individuals associated with Mr. Epstein. It is not clear how those settlement releases might complicate the claims made against the two men.

Mr. Weiner, in his statement, said Mr. Boies had a hand in negotiating some of those releases and agreed at the time that they gave “unassailable legal protection” to Mr. Kahn and Mr. Indyke.

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