Little St. James Island, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein, is seen in an aerial view near Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands July 21, 2019.
Mark Bello | Reuters
An investment firm run by billionaire Stephen Deckoff has bought two private islands in the US Virgin Islands previously belonged to the late notorious sex criminal Jeffrey EpsteinDeckoff confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday.
Forbes first reported that Deckoff, the founder of the private equity firm Black Diamond Capital Managementbought the two islands for $60 million, less than half their original asking price.
One of the islands was used by Epstein to sexual abuse young women for years, according to court documents.
“Mr. Deckoff plans to develop a state-of-the-art, world-class five-star luxury resort that will help boost tourism, create jobs and stimulate economic development in the region, while respecting and preserving the important environment of the islands”, according to a Press release about the sale.
SD Investments, which is led by Deckoff, announced the purchase.
“A significant portion of the proceeds from the sale are being paid to the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a previously announced settlement agreement between the government and Mr. Epstein’s estate,” the statement said.
Epstein’s estate and related entities agreed in November to pay the Virgin Islands government more than $105 million to settle claims of child sex trafficking and exploitation. That deal required the estate to pay the Virgin Islands half of the proceeds from the sale of the islands, Little St. James and Great St. James, and an additional $450,000 to repair damage on Great St. James, where Epstein had razed the remains of structures that were designed hundreds of years ago to make way for development.
In a brief phone interview with CNBC, Deckoff confirmed he purchased the islands.
“No comment,” he replied when asked about his plans.
Deckoff then hung up.
Little St. James covers over 70 acres and Great St. James is more than twice the size of its neighbor.
The purchase was reported the same day CNBC revealed that lawyers from the US Virgin Islands and an accuser of Epstein will depose JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon from May 26.
USVI and the unnamed woman have accused JPMorgan in federal civil lawsuits of profiting from Epstein’s sex trafficking of young women at his Virgin Islands property. Epstein was for years a client of JPMorgan Chase and had millions of dollars in deposits there.
The bank denies the allegations in the lawsuits. But he kept Epstein as a client until 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty in Florida state court to soliciting sex for money from an underage girl.
Several women have said they were raped or sexually assaulted in Little St. James, where Epstein had a mansion. Among them, Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that she had been sexually abused there, as well as in other places, by Prince Andrewthe younger brother of King Charles of Great Britain.
Andrew denied her claim, but in February 2022 he agreed to a confidential settlement with Giuffre to end a civil lawsuit against him in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
USVI’s lawsuit against JPMorgan notes that Epstein “was a resident of the Virgin Islands and maintained a residence on Little St. James, which he acquired in 1998 and in 2016 he also purchased Great St. James”.
The islands were collectively valued at $86million following Epstein’s death in August 2019, when the former friend of donald trump And bill clinton committed suicide in a Manhattan jail a month after being arrested for child sex trafficking.
“In 1998, Epstein Enterprise acquired Little St. James in the Virgin Islands as the perfect haven and refuge for the trafficking of young women and underage girls for the purposes of sexual servitude, child abuse and sexual assault,” indicates the trial.
“Little St. James is an isolated private island, nearly two miles from St. Thomas, with no other residents,” the suit noted. “It can only be visited by private boat or helicopter…Epstein had easy access to Little St. James from the private airfield in St. Thomas, just 10 minutes away by his private helicopter, but women and children whom he trafficked, abused, and detained there could not leave without his permission and help, as it was too far and dangerous to swim to St. Thomas.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that in 2016, Epstein used a straw buyer to hide Epstein’s identity and bought Great St. James, the island closest to Little St. James.
“At that time, Epstein was a convicted sex offender,” the lawsuit states. “The Epstein Enterprise purchased the island for over $20 million because its participants wanted to ensure that the island did not become a base from which others could view their activities or visitors.”
He adds: “By acquiring ownership and control of Great St. James to the exclusion of others, the Epstein business has created additional barriers to prevent those involuntarily detained on Little St. James from escaping or get help from others.”
Epstein’s former lover and longtime pimp Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced last June to 20 years in prison for recruiting and grooming teenage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.