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.
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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.

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