U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise N. George announced Thursday that Jeffrey Epstein's estate will pay $105 million to settle a sex trafficking case. Photo courtesy Virgin Islands Attorney General's office.
Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The Jeffrey Epstein estate will pay the U.S. Virgin Islands more than $105 million in cash plus half of the proceeds from the sale of his private island toward the settlement of a sex trafficking and child exploitation case.
U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise N. George said in a statement that Epstein controlled a criminal enterprise "through which dozens of young women and children were trafficked, raped, sexually assaulted, and held captive in the Virgin Islands at Epstein's secluded private island, Little St. James."
George announced Thursday that settlement of the 2020 case resolves only the claims against the Esptein estate and the co-defendants named in the government lawsuit.
The Epstein estate will also return more than $80 million in economic development tax benefits that the attorney general said "Epstein and his co-defendants fraudulently obtained to fuel his criminal enterprise."
"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 George. "Through this lawsuit and settlement, the Attorney General's Office, acting on behalf of the Government, is using its authority to enforce the laws of the Virgin Islands against criminal enterprises and to protect public safety."
Epstein estate attorney Daniel Weiner said in a statement to NBC News that the settlement "does not include any admission or concession of liability or fault by the estate or any other parties, and the co-executors deny any allegations of wrongdoing on their part."
According to Weiner, 136 of Epstein's victims have been paid more than $121 million and the estate plans to "wind down" its remaining activities in the Virgin Islands.
George said the Epstein estate also agreed to pay $450,000 "to remediate environmental damage around Great St. James, another Epstein-owned island, where the government found that Epstein razed the remains of centuries-old historical structures of enslaved workers to make room for his development."
Epstein, a billionaire financier, died by suicide in federal prison in Manhattan where he was being held on sex trafficking charges.
In June Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in Epstein's sex trafficking scheme.
Under the Virgin Island settlement terms, the Epstein estate will sell Little St. James and Great St. James islands to "independent third parties" and the proceeds from Little St. James island will go exclusively to a trust to help victims of sexual assault, human trafficking, sexual misconduct and child abuse.
George said during the sex trafficking investigation she met with young women who were trafficked and sexually exploited on Little St, James Island by Jeffrey Epstein.
"I listened to their chilling and horrific experiences at the hands of Epstein and his associates. Our work has been inspired, humbled, and fortified by the strength and courage of all of those who survived Epstein's abuse," George said in a statement. "I am grateful to Epstein's survivors and their attorneys for their cooperation throughout the investigation."