Woman’s lawsuit accuses Leon Black of libel and violent behavior
Leon Black, President, CEO and Director of Apollo Global Management, LLC, speaks at the 21st Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., May 1, 2018.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
Leon Black, the billionaire who until recently ran a private equity firm Global management of Apollo for more than three decades, was sued Tuesday by a woman who accused him of defamation and sexual violence against her.
Guzel Ganieva said Black lied when he denied his March 17 accusations on Twitter that he had “harassed and sexually abused” her “for years,” when he told media in April that he “had a stupid consensual affair ”with her and which she had extorted from him.
The complaint said Black had subjected Ganieva for several years to numerous instances of unwanted sexual behavior. He twice referred to his alleged “sexual assault and rape”, and specifically described an alleged 2014 rape.
“Ms. Ganieva’s allegations of harassment and other inappropriate behavior are categorically false,” a spokesperson for Black said in a statement. “Mr. Black categorically denies all of the spurious allegations made in this lawsuit and is eager to refute them in court.”
The spokesperson also said that Black made “substantial monetary payments” to Ganieva based on his threats to go public with their relationship. He did not specify a dollar amount.
Ganieva said in her complaint that she received unspecified “regular payments” from Black for 5.5 years after signing a nondisclosure agreement in October 2015.
She said Black decided to silence her for her alleged misconduct by forcing her to sign the agreement, in return for forgiveness of $ 960,000 in loans he made that she could not repay.
Black, 69, resigned as chief executive and chairman of Apollo this year, after an independent review by law firm Dechert said he paid the disgraced financier $ 158 million Jeffrey Epstein for tax and estate planning.
The Dechert report revealed that Black was not involved in Epstein’s criminal activities. Black said at the time that he deeply regretted his involvement with Epstein.
Ganieva, from Russia now in her 30s, said Black picked her from a crowd at an International Women’s Day event in 2008, and then accompanied her to top restaurants, Broadway shows. , cultural events and private parties.
“He did not try to keep it a secret,” Ganieva’s lawyer Jeanne Christensen said in a telephone interview.
The lawsuit in New York state court in Manhattan seeks unspecified damages.