Earlier this month, a judge ruled that two different lawsuits against JPMorgan Chase over the bank’s ties to deceased “financier” and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, would be allowed to advance in U.S. Courts. One of these cases, brought against the bank by the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), has been a particular focus of independent media since the new year began, in part because the Attorney General of the USVI, Denise George, was fired from her post just days after she filed that case.
In a hearing in the USVI case against JPMorgan earlier this month, a USVI lawyer argued that the CEO of JPMorgan – Jamie Dimon – “knew in 2008 that his billionaire client [Jeffrey Epstein] was a sex trafficker.” The lawyer, Mimi Liu, also stated that former JPMorgan Jes Staley also knew this about Epstein at the time, but noted: “This case was not just Jes Staley … there will be numerous documents that go far beyond his office to the executive suite.” Liu also asserted that “Staley knew, Dimon knew, JPMorgan Chase knew” about Epstein’s criminal activities against minors.
While the bank has disputed that Dimon knew anything about Epstein’s accounts at the bank or what he was really up to at the time, this Unlimited Hangout investigation – a multi-part series – will reveal that Dimon’s rise to the top post at JPMorgan was intimately linked to the very same group of people who enabled Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking activities as well as his extensive financial crimes.
In this article, we will examine how Dimon’s rise to become one of the most powerful men on Wall Street was largely reliant on top executives and directors of Bank One, which boasts incredibly close ties to The Limited’s Leslie Wexner and his right-hand man for many decades, Columbus-area real estate developer John W. Kessler. Kessler and other individuals tied to Wexner were the dominant forces that saw Dimon installed as Bank One’s CEO in 2000. Bank One was acquired by JPMorgan in 2003 and, shortly thereafter, Dimon became CEO of the combined entity. That acquisition, as well as the role of the Crown family in Chicago in Dimon’s selection as Bank One’s CEO, will be discussed in the second part of this series.
Yet, Dimon’s ties to the same networks as Wexner, particularly those characterized by their connections to organized crime and intelligence, preceded his time as Bank One’s CEO by many years. As this article will show, Dimon’s construction of what is now Citigroup, alongside his mentor Sandy Weill, began with their takeover of a company called Commercial Credit Corporation. That company, as well as its parent company, Control Data Corporation, had a troubling history of ties to intelligence networks that were extensively involved in criminal activity – including the so-called “private CIA” formed by CIA veteran Ted Shackley in the 1970s as well as individuals crucial to the Epstein story like Robert Maxwell.
Given these connections, JPMorgan’s claims that Dimon never knew what Jeffrey Epstein was up to during his time with the bank becomes much harder to believe. Furthermore, as future installments of this series will show, the players discussed here – Dimon and Epstein among them – were instrumental in the creation of what would manifest as the 2008 economic crisis. Not unlike some of the events that sparked today’s banking crisis, figures like Jeffrey Epstein, Dimon’s mentor Sandy Weill and the former Treasury Secretaries with close associations with both men, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, appeared to have engaged in actions that would intentionally provoke the collapse of certain banks to further consolidate the banking sector for their benefit. The goal, both then and now, seems to have been a move towards the logical conclusion of the “too big to fail” banking model — the eventual creation of a centralized cartel of mega-banks that dominate, not only commercial banking, but also central banking.
A Brief History of Control Data Corporation
Created by a group of Naval engineers in 1956, at the dawn of the American military-industrial complex, Engineering Research Associates (ERA) was a military contractor with a focus on cryptography and code-breaking. Shortly after its creation, part of the core ERA team split off and formed Control Data Corporation (CDC) a year later in 1957.
CDC quickly became a defense contractor in its own right and became a major purveyor of super-computers to sensitive U.S. research facilities. These included Sandia National Laboratories and Oak Ridge Laboratories, both of which worked on the U.S. nuclear program. At the same time, CDC also had an odd relationship with the Soviet Union’s own sensitive nuclear facilities, which eventually led to congressional scrutiny. Congressional hearings from the mid-1970s revealed that:
In 1968, a second-generation Control Data Corporation 1604 system was installed at the Dubna Soviet Nuclear Facility near Moscow. In 1972 [CDC] sold the Soviet Union a third-generation CDC 6200 system computer. For these systems, [CDC’s] operating statement had improved by about $3 million dollars in the past three years. And the Soviet Union has gained 15 years in computer technology
The hearings also noted that CDC planned to sell Soviet-controlled Poland computer systems so sensitive that they were only used domestically at the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Atomic Energy Commission. CDC claimed that Poland planned to use the equipment at a Polish “high school.” At the time, no American high school or educational institution of any type possessed this particular system, and there were only 10 in the entire country. As reflected by these and other examples in the hearings’ transcripts, Congress’ concerns were based around the perception that CDC’s business in the USSR involved technology transfers that undermined U.S. national security during the height of the Cold War. Those concerns would only grow with time.
After these hearings in 1974, CDC made an apparent move at increasing its role in technology transfers, despite political concerns. By the late 1970s, they had established a new subsidiary called Worldtech, described in the press as “a division of Control Data Corp that does research and consulting on, and brokering of, technology transfers.”
Once Worldtech was established by CDC, it entered into a joint venture in 1979 with Greek publisher George Bobolas that was called Worldtech Hellas Ltd. 70% was owned by Bobolas and 20% was owned by CDC. The owner of the remaining 10% was not disclosed in reports at the time.
A 1979 letter from one of Bobolas’ companies to A. Afonin, identified as a “representative of the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations of the USSR Council of Ministers,” proposed the creation of a “joint development company using Worldtech for ‘world-wide technology transfer’” and stressed that “Worldtech Hellas Ltd. will give a lot of help’ to ‘technology transfer on an international base.’” After journalist Paul Anastasi published information about Bobolas and called him a “KGB agent of influence,” one of his companies, Bobtrade, asserted that “no improper transfer of high technology was involved.” CDC moved to dissolve their partnership, likely due to bad publicity.
Around the time that Worldtech was created, CDC’s then-executive vice president, Robert D. Schmidt, was part of the American Committee on U.S.-Soviet Relations (ACUSR, previously the American Committee on East-West Accord). Other members at the time, specifically in 1977, included Robert Maxwell’s lawyer and confidant, Samuel Pisar (stepfather to current U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken), as well as Thomas Watson Jr. of IBM, who would become the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1979. Another member was Paul Ziffren, a major figure in the organized crime networks that ran through Chicago and Hollywood described in Gus Russo’s acclaimed work Supermob. Another key figure in the “Supermob” network was Henry Crown. Crown, along with his son and grandson – Lester and James, will be discussed in greater detail later in this series due to their pivotal role in the rise of Jamie Dimon.
Notably, in the early 1970s, Samuel Pisar told Congress that the world was moving “toward a single, unified world economy, in disregard of national frontiers, and even ideological boundaries.” He stated that “all conventional tools of national policy, it seems to me, are rapidly becoming anachronistic [as] the State itself, even a strong one, [..] is no longer a defendable economic entity.” Pisar also claimed that the main drivers of this shift included “the multinational corporation” and “the dissemination of technology.” He later frames technology transfers by major multinational corporations as giving rise to the “trans-ideological corporation” where “capital private enterprises” and “Communist state enterprises” freely intermingled and formed joint ventures. When asked if these “trans-ideological corporations” were forces for good or for evil, Pisar responded that “I believe that on balance, they are a force for good,” but qualified that as depending on how governments and corporate management act “to make certain that they become forces for good.”
By the mid-1980s, Occidental Petroleum executives Armand Hammer and William McSweeney had also joined the ACUSR. Samuel Pisar also represented Hammer’s business interests. Hammer notably served as a back channel between the Americans and the Soviets and had once sought to acquire the American bank First General Bancshares (FGB) for the purpose of “financially blackmailing” US politicians, specifically members of Congress who had open accounts at the bank. It is also worth mentioning that Hammer’s father, Julius Hammer, had once served as a Soviet spy.
Another member of the ACUSR was Joseph Filner, president of Noblemet International (later renamed the Newmet Corporation). Filner was extensively involved in USSR-U.S. tech transfers. Filner’s Noblemet created a joint venture for the purpose of tech transfers, which was called Multi-Arc. By 1984, CDC’s Worldtech had become “a worldwide marketing representative for Multi-Arc.”
CDC would later recruit Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich after Perpich lost his re-election campaign in 1979. Perpich, a dentist by training, would specifically work for CDC overseas as “vice president and executive consultant to Control Data Worldtech Inc.”The New York Times, reporting on his hire by CDC in January 1979, stated that Perpich was expected to be based in Yugoslavia, but he said he could find himself in Hungary, Bulgaria or Rumania [sic].” Robert Maxwell was also intimately involved with tech transfers in Eastern Europe, specifically in Bulgaria, through the Bulgarian intelligence-linked Neva program that specifically targeted and pirated Western-developed technologies. Perpich, after working for Worldtech, went on to win another term as Minnesota’s governor in 1983.
CDC, by that time, had also recruited another influential politician, Walter Mondale. Mondale was hired by CDC right after he left office as Jimmy Carter’s vice president. CDC hired Mondale as a legal consultant and retained his services for $2,000 per month (about $6,537 in 2023 dollars).
Simultaneously, Mondale was also a consultant to Allen & Co, the company of the organized crime-linked brothers Charles and Herbert Allen. Mondale was not only a consultant to, but also a close friend of the Allen brothers. The Allen brothers also worked closely with organized crime interests as well as Leslie Wexner’s “mentors” Max Fisher and Alfred Taubman and he also had “a close business association with Earl Brian and had financed one of his attempts to buy out Bill Hamilton’s Inslaw.” Brian, along with Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan, was the architect of the theft of the PROMIS software originally created by Hamilton’s company, Inslaw Inc. Brian’s lawyer, Allan Tessler, also served on the board of Les Wexner’s company The Limited and had a close business relationship with another organized crime-linked family, the Gouletas. The Gouletas family notably shared office space with Jeffrey Epstein while Epstein was working as Wexner’s financial advisor in the late 1980s.
CDC was itself tied up with the PROMIS theft and the resulting scandal. The PROMIS software, after its theft, was bugged by both Israel intelligence and a separate group that involved the CIA, the “Supermob”-linked company MCA, and Latin American drug cartels. This latter group’s version was used to spy mostly on financial institutions. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, investigative journalist Danny Casolaro was writing a book that covered, among other things, this group’s repurposing of PROMIS for financial espionage and money laundering. Shortly before his untimely death in 1991, those close to the journalist had seen documents obtained by Casolaro that detailed money transfers from the World Bank to Earl Brian as well as Saudi arms dealer and Iran-Contra figure Adnan Khashoggi. Notably, throughout the 1980s, Khashoggi had retained the financial services of Jeffrey Epstein.
It appears that this version of PROMIS and its use at the World Bank involved CDC in some capacity. By 1983, CDC was providing its services to the World Bank’s computer center and, that same year, the PROMIS software was found to be in use at that specific facility to keep track of wire transfers of money. This comes from a sworn statement that Inslaw Inc. obtained from David McCallum in 1995. In 1983, McCallum was working for CDC at the World Bank.
In my correspondence with Inslaw’s Bill Hamilton, he stated the following:
According to an article in the International Banking Regulator dated January 17, 1994, U.S. Justice Department officials delivered the VAX version of PROMIS to the World Bank in 1983. The World Bank, as an international institution, is outside the reach of discovery of the U.S. courts. For its part, the World Bank declares that it has been unable to find any evidence that it ever possessed the VAX version of PROMIS.
Hamilton also relayed that he had once been informed of a connection between CDC and PROMIS that involved the Deputy Attorney General under Ed Meese, D. Lowell Jensen. However, he could no longer remember the specifics of that connection.
Also significant is the role CDC played during the 1990 visit of Mikhail Gorbachev, the then-leader of the Soviet Union, to the United States. During that trip, Gorbachev visited CDC headquarters alongside Rudy Perpich, as well as Robert Maxwell. The Gorbachevs arrived in Minnesota immediately after a summit meeting in Washington with then-President George H.W. Bush.
According to a report from the Minnesota Historical Society:
Gorbachev most likely agreed to the visit [Minnesota] because several Minnesota-based corporations – especially the computer firm, Control Data Corporation – had long done business in the Soviet Union. When the corporation’s officials learned that Gorbachev was interested in a post-summit tour, they passed the word to Perpich, who had worked for Control Data between his two terms as governor. Albert Eisele, who had been a consultant for Control Data and, earlier, was Vice President Walter Mondale’s press secretary, drafted the governor’s letter inviting the Gorbachevs. Former Control Data CEO Robert Price personally delivered the letter to the Soviet embassy on February 26, 1990.
During the visit, Gorbachev attended a lunch at the governor’s mansion, where Robert Maxwell and Rudy Perpich joined groups of Soviet and American officials. One of the American officials present was Condoleezza Rice, the future Secretary of State who was then a National Security Council staff member. Afterwards, there was a press conference where Robert Maxwell, in characteristic bombastic fashion, “announced that he would donate $50 million to help create a private research institution to be called the Gorbachev-Maxwell Institute of Technology.” Maxwell said that the donation was “contingent on Perpich raising matching funds.” However, the institute was never launched.
After visiting Minnesota, Gorbachev next visited Silicon Valley, where he spent the week “trying to perfect the art of winning acceptance and investment from the captains of capitalism.” A Washington Post article on his visit quoted John Sculley, then-head of Apple Computers as saying, “I think Gorbachev got to us… We’ll all be thinking about business with the Soviet Union in a way we wouldn’t have if he hadn’t come.”
Notably, Apple’s Steve Jobs was advised by Samuel Pisar. Jobs later stated that his 1985 trip the USSR has been “facilitated by an international lawyer based in Paris” and that Jobs had a “feeling” that this attorney “worked for the CIA or the KGB.” That lawyer was almost certainly Pisar.
Commercial Credit Corporation and the “private CIA”
In 1968, CDC acquired the Commercial Credit Corporation (CCC) to “help its computer customers finance leases of company hardware and stabilize erratic earnings” that then characterized much of the early computer industry. A few years after the acquisition, both CDC and CCC would find themselves intertwined with the “private CIA” network developed mainly by Ted Shackley, the Agency’s infamous “Blond Ghost,” in the late 1970s and which later allied itself with George H.W. Bush. This is highly significant as this particular network was intimately involved with the illicit transfers of both weapons and technology, including during the Iran-Contra scandal, the related PROMIS scandal, and the subsequent “Chinagate” scandal of the mid-1990s.
For example, around 1976, CDC hired the “rogue” CIA agent Edwin Wilson as a consultant. Wilson, who later was sent to prison when he was caught illegally selling weapons to Libya, has been described as “part spy, part tycoon” and used a web of corporations he controlled to benefit his benefactors in the CIA and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Wilson had long worked closely with Ted Shackley. He was also allegedly involved in sexual blackmail operations involving both the American CIA and the South Korean CIA at Washington DC’s Georgetown Club. CDC purportedly hired Wilson so he could help the company “unload some outdated computers on Third World countries.”
Yet, CDC leveraged Wilson’s extensive contacts and abilities for much more, going so far as to have Wilson bug the U.S. Army’s Materiel Command on behalf of the company. The company was apparently seeking “inside information … on bidding and procurement plans” of the military. Given CDC’s role in illicit technology transfer, its ties to organized crime and intelligence-linked networks and its explicit espionage activity targeting the U.S. military, it seems fair to say that CDC was much more than just a technology company.
CCC, for its part, also had odd connections to the networks around Shackley. For instance, one of the key components of this “private CIA” was a company created by Shackley and another CIA operative and long-time associate of Shackley’s named Thomas Clines. That company was known as the Egyptian-American Air Transport and Services Corporation, or EATSCO. It seems that EATSCO functioned as a middleman in arms sales made by the Pentagon to Egypt and, later, other countries.