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Private Equity Investor Leon Black: ‘Sexual Assault Lawsuit is Extortion Scam’

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By Jared Evan

Billionaire Private equity investor and art collector Leon Black is back in the news, after stepping down from Apollo Global Management, and chairman of Museum of Modern Art.

Last year, Guzel Ganieva filed a lawsuit claiming Black—coerced her into signing a nondisclosure agreement to stay silent about his years of “sexual violence” toward her.

The 69-year-old private-equity mogul, in response, released a statement indicating he “foolishly had a consensual affair” with Ganieva, and his spokesman told the media that her complaint was “nothing more than a wholesale fiction”, Daily Beast reported.

In a 52-page answer and counterclaim filed Monday, Black alleges he has “irrefutable documentary evidence” that shows Ganieva, 38, “embarked on a campaign of extortion” to get more funds from him in 2015, after the relationship ended, Daily Beast and other sources reported.

The court document also indicates Black is working to uncover whether Ganieva “is acting alone or is working in concert with” others in bringing her complaint, Daily Beast uncovered.

“In short, Mr. Black is guilty only of extremely poor judgment in entering into an affair with Ganieva in the first instance, in making an easy target of himself throughout their relationship by lavishing her with gifts and money, and in allowing himself to be extorted rather than immediately reporting Ganieva to law enforcement,” Black’s court filing states.

“Ganieva, on the other hand, must be held to account,” the pleading continues. “In her defamatory Twitter posts, Ganieva purports to invoke ‘#MeToo,’ and claims to have come forward to protect ‘other women.’ In reality, her demonstrable lies and extortion are cynical attempts to weaponize a critically important and long-overdue movement. In so doing, Ganieva has done a tragic disservice to the brave truth-tellers—the vast majority of accusers—who have survived sexual abuse.

“This lawsuit will reveal who Ms. Ganieva really is; what truly motivated this hit job; and whether she is acting alone or is working in concert with, or at the behest of, a third party who might wish Mr. Black ill.”

TJV News previously reported: Leon Black had stepped down as chief executive of Apollo Global Management in March, months ahead of schedule. Black, who was scrutinized as being a client of shunned financier Jeffery Epstein, had announced in January that he would be leaving the company by July 1. As reported by Crain’s NY, he announced that he was exiting the post immediately and that he would also be giving up his chairmanship, which he was originally supposed to be keeping.

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