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Jeffrey Epstein was among those Leon Black spoke to about ‘blackmail’ threats

Faced with what he claims is “an extortion campaign” by his ex-girlfriend, who has accused him of rape, billionaire Leon Black said he has only discussed it with his attorney, family and friends. family and 4 others.

One of them is Jeffrey Epstein, according to the sworn statement by Black, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, filed in New York state court on Tuesday.

Revealing a new dimension to what is known about the relationship between Black and Epstein, the pedophile hanged himself in prison two years ago while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Black paid Epstein $158 million for advice on matters including taxes, art deals and the management of his yacht and private jet, according to a report by Dechert, the international law firm . Black stepped down from his leadership positions at Apollo last March.

The new court filings also place Epstein in a close circle with whom Black confided about secret payments he made to a woman with accused he, in a civil lawsuit, raped her and then paid millions of dollars to secure her silence.

Black admitted to paying $9 million to Guzel Ganieva since 2015, when she signed a “disclosure and confidentiality agreement” at a meeting at a Four Seasons restaurant in New York that he secretly recorded. .

Ganieva’s lawyers said their client was forced to “take his hidden money and retreat into silence forever”. Black’s attorneys say he was the victim of “a criminal blackmail scheme”.

A discovery request filed by Ganieva’s attorneys asks the billionaire for a list of people with whom he discussed the confidentiality agreement. In an answer signed by him and fined for perjury, Black named only three people: a private investigator at Nardello & Co, Epstein and Ganieva herself.

Black’s text says that, in addition to those three, he discussed Ganieva’s alleged “blackmail” threats with another private investigator and with Brad Wechsler, head of the investment vehicle Black’s private life. He added that he did not name his family members or attorneys, who are protected by attorney-client privilege.

Ganieva is seeking unspecified monetary damages against Black for defamation, emotional distress and “gender violence”.

Lawyers for black have branded Ganieva’s lawsuit is “a work of fiction”. The billionaire has countered with a lawsuit of his own, accusing Ganieva and her lawyers at the law firm Wigdor of colluding with an unidentified financial backer to abuse the legal system to smear people. black people and commit blackmail, blackmail, and fraud.

Black’s attorneys have also asked the court to prevent Ganieva from adding passages to her statement that “serve no purpose other than to unacceptably smear Mr. Black by association.” to Epstein: insinuating that simply because Epstein is a bad guy, Mr Black must be a bad guy”.

In a petition filed Tuesday, Ganieva’s lawyers said Black’s claims were initially found to be “lies [his] declares that any allegations related to Epstein are unrelated”. Black’s new sworn statement was filed as an exhibit along with the movement.

A Black spokesman said that the petition should never have been filed. The unauthorized filing by Ms Ganieva’s lawyers is but another desperate attempt to smear Mr Black’s reputation and divert attention away from Ms. Ganieva’s crimes.

Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor who represents Ganieva, countered that Black’s attorneys were the ones who filed the lawsuit her company is responding to.

“He can withdraw [the motion] of course,” she added. “Otherwise, we would strongly oppose it, that’s what we’re doing.”

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