Former Barclays BARC.L chief executive Jes Staley allegedly discussed Disney characters Snow White and Beauty and the Beast in a series of emails with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who also allegedly shared photographs of young women with the banker, according to newly unsealed court documents.
The alleged email exchanges between Staley and Epstein in 2009 and 2010 are contained in a lawsuit filed by the United States Virgin Islands against Staley's former employer, US bank JP Morgan Chase & Co JPM.N.
The US Virgin Islands, where Epstein owned two private islands, alleges that JPMorgan facilitated and sustained Epstein's sex-trafficking over two decades.
Was Staley involved in Epstein's sex-trafficking operation?
The lawsuit claims Staley had a close personal relationship with Epstein and that emails between the two "even suggest that Staley may have been involved in Epstein's sex-trafficking operation."
"That was fun. Say hi to Snow White," Staley emailed Epstein in July 2010, according to filings on Wednesday with the US District Court in Manhattan.
"What character would you like next?" Epstein replied.
"Beauty and the Beast," Staley allegedly responded, to which Epstein replied: "Well one side is available," according to the filing.
Reuters could not determine what "Snow White" or "Beauty and the Beast" referred to.
A London-based lawyer for Staley, who is not a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment.
JPMorgan, which also declined to comment on Thursday, has said the case is "legally meritless and should be dismissed."
Barclays declined to comment on Thursday. In a statement announcing Staley's resignation on Nov. 1, 2021, the British bank said the preliminary conclusions of investigations by British financial regulators into how Staley characterized his relationship with Epstein made "no findings that Mr Staley saw, or was aware of, any of Mr. Epstein's alleged crimes."
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority both declined to comment on Thursday.
The regulators have not published the results of their investigation, although they have said previously that it was focused on how truthful Staley was about his ties to Epstein. Staley is contesting the findings.
According to the lawsuit, Staley exchanged around 1,200 emails with Epstein from his JPMorgan email account between 2008 and 2012.
Staley allegedly wrote to Epstein on Nov 1, 2009, describing his relationship with Epstein as "profound."
"I'm in the hot tub with a glass of white wine ... I owe you much. And I deeply appreciate our friendship. I have few so profound."
One month later, Staley allegedly wrote to Epstein to say how great it had been to give him "a long, heartfelt hug," after which Epstein allegedly sent Staley two pictures of young women.
Epstein was a client of JPMorgan from about 2000 to 2013. Staley served in a variety of senior private banking and wealth management roles at JPMorgan until leaving the bank in 2013.
Epstein was found dead in a Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
A separate lawsuit brought by Epstein victims against JPMorgan contains an allegation that Staley had "personally observed" Epstein's abuse of the named plaintiff, known as Jane Doe 1.
Staley is not a defendant in that case.