Apollo Global co-founder Leon Black accused of rape, US Senate panel probes Epstein ties

Apollo Global co-founder Leon Black accused of rape, US Senate panel probes Epstein ties

By Reuters

  • 26 Jul 2023
Apollo Global co-founder Leon Black accused of rape, US Senate panel probes Epstein ties
Leon Black | Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The billionaire investor Leon Black was sued on Tuesday by an autistic woman who says he raped her in the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein's mansion in Manhattan in 2002, when she was 16.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the woman, using the pseudonym Jane Doe, said that as she was preparing to give Black a massage, Black pinned her down and penetrated her with sex toys, causing her to bleed.

She said Epstein later found her crying, but refused to let her see a doctor and said longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell would take care of her.


Black's lawyer Susan Estrich called Doe's lawsuit frivolous.

"He never met this woman," Estrich said in an interview. "He doesn't know her at all. We're confident the lawsuit is totally uncorroborated by any evidence. It has nothing to do with Leon Black."

Born with Mosaic Down Syndrome, Doe said she was lured into Epstein's orbit from a summer program for cheerleaders, and gave him massages, with she and he naked, before being "shipped off" to Black.


She is seeking damages for Black's alleged violation of a New York City law against gender-motivated violence. Her lawyer Jeanne Christensen declined to say whether Doe tried to settle.

Black co-founded private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which he left in 2021. Forbes magazine said he is worth $10.1 billion.

The lawsuit was filed the same day the U.S. Senate's finance committee said it was examining Black's treatment of several trusts, and whether $158 million he paid Epstein for tax and estate planning was properly deemed income or gifts for tax purposes.


Epstein died by suicide in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

Black has denied other sexual abuse accusations, including in a dismissed lawsuit by former Russian model Guzel Ganieva, and a lawsuit by Cheri Pierson who also claimed he raped her in Epstein's home two decades ago.

The billionaire has also reached a $62.5 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein had a home, to avoid a possible lawsuit.


The case is Doe v Black, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 23-06418.

US Senate panel probe

The U.S. Senate's Finance Committee on Tuesday revealed an ongoing probe into private equity billionaire Leon Black's financial ties with disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein, and said the investigation "uncovered serious tax issues."


"The investigation has uncovered serious tax issues and other concerns with trusts and structures Black executed to avoid over $1 billion in future gift and estate taxes," the panel said in a statement on Tuesday, adding its probe began in June 2022.

The Senate panel said that a reported $158 million of payments in several installments from 2012 to 2017 by Black to Epstein for financial advice seemed "inexplicably large," given that Epstein was "neither a licensed tax attorney nor a certified public accountant."

The panel also alleged Black "has refused to answer questions or provide any documents that could demonstrate how Epstein's compensation for tax and estate planning services was determined or justified."

A spokesperson for Black said the billionaire had "cooperated extensively" with the panel's probe and provided detailed information.

"The transactions referenced in the Committee's letter were lawful in all respects, were conceived of, vetted and implemented by reputable law firms and tax and other advisors, and Mr. Black has fully paid all taxes owed to the government," Black's spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Black had previously acknowledged he paid Epstein for "legitimate financial advisory services." Last week, the New York Times reported that Black paid $62.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to avoid any legal claims tied to an Epstein sex-trafficking investigation.

Black is worth $10.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He left Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm he co-founded, in 2021.

Epstein, a registered sex offender who once counted former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton as friends, killed himself in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

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