Faced with what he claims was “a campaign of extortion” by an ex-girlfriend who accused him of rape, billionaire Leon Black said he only discussed it with his lawyers, his family and four other people.
One of them was Jeffrey Epstein, according to an affidavit by Black, co-founder of Apollo Global Management, which was filed in a state court in New York on Tuesday.
The revelation adds a new dimension known to the relationship between Black and Epstein, the pedophile who hanged himself in jail two years ago while awaiting trial on a sex trafficking charge.
Black paid Epstein $ 158 million for advice on matters including taxation, art transactions and the management of his yacht and private jet, according to a report by Dechert, the international law firm. Black left his leadership positions at Apollo last March.
The new court ruling also puts Epstein in a close circle whom Black has trusted over the secret payments he makes to a woman who accused him, in a civil lawsuit, to rape her and then pay millions of dollars to ensure her silence.
Black has admitted to paying $ 9 million to Guzel Ganieva since 2015, when she signed an “exemption and confidentiality agreement” at a meeting at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York that he secretly recorded.
Ganieva’s lawyers said their client was forced to “take his quiet money and withdraw in silence forever”. Black’s lawyers say he is the victim of “a criminal extortion scheme”.
A discovery request filed by Ganieva’s lawyers asked the billionaire to provide a list of people with whom he had discussed the confidentiality agreement. In a response bearing his signature and filed under the penalty of perjury, Black mentioned only three people: a private investigator at Nardello & Co, Epstein and Ganieva himself.
Black’s written statement said that in addition to the three people, he discussed Ganieva’s alleged threats of “extortion” with another private investigator and with Brad Wechsler, the head of Black’s personal investment vehicle. He added that he did not name any members of his family or attorneys who were covered by attorney-client privilege.
Ganieva is claiming unspecified monetary damages against Black for libel, inflicting emotional distress and “gender-motivated violence”.
Lawyers for Black het branded Ganieva’s lawsuit “a work of fiction”. The billionaire opposed a lawsuit of his own, accusing Ganieva and her lawyers at the Wigdor law firm of collaborating with an unidentified financial backer to abuse the legal system in an attempt to defame Black. and commit extortion, extortion and fraud.
Black’s lawyers also asked a court to prevent Ganieva from adding sections to her allegation that “serve no other purpose than to smear Mr Black impermissibly by associating with Epstein: the insinuation is simply that because Epstein is a bad guy was, Mr. bad guy “.
In a motion filed Tuesday, Ganieva’s lawyers said Black’s statements during early discovery were “almost stated [his] claims that any allegations about Epstein are irrelevant ”. Black’s new affidavit was submitted as evidence along with the motion.
A Black spokesman said the motion should never have been filed. “The unauthorized submission by Ms Ganieva’s lawyers is nothing more than another desperate attempt to smear Mr Black’s reputation and divert attention from Ms Ganieva’s crimes,” the spokesman said.
Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor representing Ganieva, objected that Black’s attorneys were the ones who filed the motion to which her firm responded.
“He can withdraw [the motion] of course, ”she added. “Otherwise we will aggressively oppose it, which is what we are doing.”