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
Leon Black, former CEO and chairman of Apollo Global Management.

  • Leon Black denied sexual harassment allegations, and said they weren’t linked to his exit from Apollo.
  • Black in a statement that he paid the former model, Guzel Ganieva, to keep the “consensual affair” a secret.
  • Ganieva tweeted in March she had been “sexually harassed and abused” by Black for years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Leon Black, the former CEO 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 that he paid the woman, Guzel Ganieva, to keep their affair a secret from the public.

His comments came after the New York Post reported Thursday that his exit from Apollo on March 22 happened days after Ganieva’s accusations came to light.

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

“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 a statement denying the allegations, and also saying they were unrelated to his departure.

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

Black, 69, said that he gave 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 the situation was “personal” and “has nothing to do with Apollo or my decision to step away from the firm.”

Ganieva told Bloomberg: “I stand by what I said in my tweets on March 17.”

The Wall Street billionaire stepped down as CEO and chairman of Apollo on March 22. His exit came after an independent investigation showed he paid $158 million to the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein between 2012 to 2017. The investigation said neither Black nor Apollo employees were involved in Epstein’s criminal activities.

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cuomo says his behavior towards women was ‘misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation’

andrew cuomo leak
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  • New York Gov. Cuomo says his behavior towards women was “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.”
  • Two former aides have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. 
  • Cuomo said New York Attorney General Letitia James will now lead the investigation.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his behavior towards women had been “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation” after allegations of sexual harassment had been made against him. 

In a statement released on Sunday, Cuomo said he never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone, but said he made jokes that he thought were funny, both in public and in private.

“I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business,” he wrote. 

Cuomo added: “I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal and that some of my comments, given my position, made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”

Earlier on Sunday, Cuomo reversed course on plans to have former federal judge Barbara Jones investigate the allegations against him that were brought forth by two former aides.

On Saturday, former staffer Charlotte Bennett said Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions and made unwanted sexual advances toward her, last year. 

On Friday, Lindsey Boylan, another former staffer, alleged that starting in 2016, Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward her. In a Medium blog post, Boylan said she resigned in 2018 after the governor kissed her on the lips without her consent. 

Cuomo has denied both of the allegations. 

In a press release, Cuomo’s office said they would ask New York Attorney General Letitia James and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge on the highest court in New York, to name “a jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report.” 

The plan to place DiFiore on the investigation was criticized by state and federal lawmakers because the judge had ties to a longtime Cuomo ally. He had also nominated her to her current role.

James also took issue with Cuomo’s proposal to have DiFiore involved in the investigation. 

“To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal. The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral,” James said in a statement. “While I have deep respect for Chief Judge DiFiore, I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted.”

Later on Sunday, Cuomo accepted James’ demands that she control the investigation, a move that she welcomed. 

“We expect to receive a 63(8) referral with subpoena power to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against the governor, in line with our demands and New York state law. The referral would be made solely to the attorney general’s office. This is not a responsibility we take lightly. We will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office, and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation,” she said in a subsequent statement.

Insider has reached out to Cuomo, James, and DiFiore’s offices for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider