Leon Black accused of sexual harassment

Leon Black’s shock exit from the helm of Apollo World Administration closing month obtained right here merely days after various directors on the private-equity massive’s board found of accusations of sexual harassment in opposition to him by a girl he claimed was attempting to shake him down following a earlier “consensual affair,” The Submit has found.

Black was already on observe to step down as Apollo CEO by the highest of July when he unexpectedly launched on March 22 that he will be leaving as CEO and Chairman, environment friendly immediately.

Black — who Apollo earlier this yr revealed had paid thousands and thousands to lifeless pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein following the latter’s 2008 convictions for procuring an underage woman for prostitution — cited his partner’s ailing properly being and his private properly being points for the sudden change in plans.

Neither Black nor Apollo talked about on the time that days important as a lot because the resignation not lower than 4 of Apollo’s 12 board members had develop to take heed to a sequence of little-noticed however explosive tweets by Güzel Ganieva, a former model who claimed to have been “compelled to signal an NDA in 2015” referring to allegations that Black “sexually harassed and abused ” her, in accordance with sources close to the state of affairs.

A screenshot of the tweet.

In an announcement to The Submit, Black acknowledged that he knew Ganieva, nevertheless denied that he acted inappropriately in direction of her.

“I foolishly had a consensual affair with Ms. Ganieva that ended greater than seven years in the past,” Black acknowledged in his assertion. “Any allegation of harassment or some other inappropriate conduct in direction of her is totally fabricated.”

He moreover denied that her allegations influenced his option to step away from the corporate before deliberate. In January, Black had signaled he would carry on as chairman after stepping down as CEO on July 31.

Leon Black speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills in 2016.
Leon Black speaking on the Milken Institute World Convention in Beverly Hills in 2016.
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

“That is completely a private matter; this matter has nothing to do with Apollo or my determination to step away from the agency.”

Black added that he believes he was “extorted” by Ganieva on account of he had allegedly “made substantial financial funds to her, primarily based on her threats to go public regarding our relationship, in an try and spare my household from public embarrassment.”

The billionaire acknowledged he has referred the matter to “the felony authorities” on the suggestion of his counsel and welcomes “an intensive investigation.”

It stays unclear whether or not or not any of Black’s allegations in opposition to Ganieva would amount to felony conduct and there’s no indication that bills have been launched or are being considered.

Ganieva didn’t immediately reply to Black’s extortion claims. Ganieva acknowledged that in 2015, she signed a non-disclosure settlement, or NDA, aimed towards preserving her quiet “beneath duress,” nevertheless didn’t elaborate on the phrases or whether or not or not she obtained a monetary revenue.

“Though I’m a non-public individual, in mild of the latest media protection, I feel I’ve an obligation to make a press release concerning Apollo World Administration’s CEO and Chairman, Leon Black,” began the first of her March 17 tweets. “I was sexually harassed and abused by him for years.

A screenshot of the tweet.

“It began in 2008 once I met with him to debate work,” Ganieva continued. “Whereas he understood my profession aspirations, he couldn’t perceive me once I refused his sexual advances. I used to be bullied, manipulated, threatened, and coerced.”

Ganieva declined to supply a replica of the NDA. A second provide claiming knowledge of the matter, agreed that an NDA was signed nevertheless declined to elaborate.

NDAs grew to change into a flashpoint inside the #MeToo movement, with commentators arguing that they’d develop to be a instrument that protected extremely efficient males in opposition to allegations of abuse.

“I’m breaking my silence now as a result of I are not looking for one of these predatory conduct to proceed taking place to different girls,” Ganieva acknowledged in her third and supreme tweet, which as of Thursday was nonetheless posted on Twitter.

In an distinctive interview with The Submit earlier this week, earlier to Black’s extortion allegations, Ganieva alleged that Black’s abuse “was over a protracted time period and it was tragic.”

Ganieva, who emigrated to the US from Russia, acknowledged she met Black at a 2008 Manhattan celebration when she was 25 years earlier. He tried for some time to help her get a job, she acknowledged, nevertheless claimed he wished favors in return.

Ganieva declined to talk further significantly about her allegations, saying she was not however cozy sharing further particulars about her claims.

Among the many directors who had found of the tweets, the sources acknowledged, have been Jay Clayton, the earlier chief of the US Securities and Trade Fee, who was tapped as Apollo’s lead unbiased director in a January overhaul meant to reinforce Apollo’s firm governance.

Clayton didn’t return a request for comment. An Apollo spokeswoman declined to comment and well-known that Black is just not with the company.

Black has denied the allegation made by Ganieva.
Black has denied the allegations made by Ganieva.
Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Black’s sudden departure from Apollo was broadly reported.

In January, an investigation for Apollo by the regulation company Dechert found he had paid Epstein $158 million for tax advice and estate-planning corporations between 2013 and 2017. After the shut of the investigation, Black acknowledged of his involvement with Epstein that he was solely accountable of poor judgment in his dealings with Epstein, and that he had carried out nothing mistaken.

“[There was no] proof that I had any involvement with Mr. Epstein’s egregious conduct or engaged in wrongdoing of any form,” he acknowledged in a letter to Apollo consumers.

4 days afterward March 26, Black acknowledged he wouldn’t run for re-election as chairman of the Museum of Trendy Artwork when his time interval ends on June 30.

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