Wall Street billionaire Leon Black denied sexual-harassment allegations made by a former model and said he paid her to keep the 'affair' quiet

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Wall Street billionaire Leon Black denied sexual-harassment allegations made by a former model and said he paid her to keep the 'affair' quiet
Leon Black, former CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management.LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters
  • Leon Black denied sexual-harassment allegations and said they weren't linked to his exit from Apollo.
  • Black said he had paid Guzel Ganieva, a former model, to keep the "consensual affair" a secret.
  • Ganieva tweeted in March that Black had "sexually harassed and abused" her for years.

Leon Black, the former CEO of Apollo Global Management, on Thursday denied sexual-harassment allegations made against him by a former model and said their "consensual affair" had nothing to do with his departure from the firm.

He also said he had paid the woman, Guzel Ganieva, to keep their affair a secret.

The New York Post reported earlier Thursday that his exit from Apollo on March 22 happened days after Ganieva's accusations came to light.

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Ganieva tweeted on March 17 that Black had "sexually harassed and abused" her "for years." She said that it began in 2008 when she met him to discuss work and that she "refused his sexual advances" at the time.

"I was bullied, manipulated, threatened, and coerced," Ganieva said, adding, "I was forced to sign an NDA in 2015."

Following the Post's report, Black issued the statement denying the allegations and saying they were unrelated to his departure.

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"I foolishly had a consensual affair with Ms. Ganieva that ended more than seven years ago," Black said in the statement, according to Bloomberg. "Any allegation of harassment or any other inappropriate behavior towards her is completely fabricated."

Black, 69, said he had given Ganieva money to keep quiet about their affair. "The truth is that I have been extorted by Ms. Ganieva for many years and I made substantial monetary payments to her, based on her threats to go public concerning our relationship, in an attempt to spare my family from public embarrassment," he said.

He said that the situation was "personal" and that it had "nothing to do with Apollo or my decision to step away from the firm."

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Ganieva told Bloomberg, "I stand by what I said in my tweets on March 17."

The Wall Street billionaire stepped down as the CEO and chairman of Apollo after an independent investigation found that he had paid $158 million to the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein from 2012 to 2017. It found that neither Black nor Apollo employees were involved in Epstein's criminal activities.

Jay Clayton, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, is now the chairman, and Apollo's cofounder Marc Rowan has taken over as CEO.

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