Leon Black strongly rejected allegations of raping and harassing a young Russian model, marking the woman’s trial as “a work of fiction”, and arguing that text messages and audio recordings show he has become a victim of a criminal extortion scheme. “
Lawyers for the billionaire have dismissed his accuser, Guzel Ganieva, as a “fabulist”. They asked a court strike for “scandalous” and “prejudicial” sections of their complaint, including a statement that “derived pleasure” from humiliation and resentment, and that they didn’t care “to be seen outside with other young women. , often of Russian origin. “
The response marks Black’s latest effort to contain the repercussions of a series of allegations surrounding his personal life and business interests outside of Apollo Global Management, the $ 455 billion investment group he co-founded in the 1990.
Black stepped down from all his positions at Apollo in March, weeks after it was revealed he had paid defense attorney Jeffrey Epstein $ 158 million for financial advice and other professional services.
Ganieva filed her lawsuit in June, claiming that Black had subjected her to “forced sadistic sexual acts” before ordering her to sign a non-disclosure agreement and saying, “If you don’t take the money, I’ll put you in prison.” .
On Monday, in a presentation in New York State’s Supreme Court, Black’s lawyers revealed the existence of cassettes that say “a wonderfully different story” – and showed that the billionaire never said those words. .
Black’s lawyers say he met Ganieva “at a private party launched every year by a former colleague” and began a relationship that was “casual, episodic and completely consensual.”
“Apparently Ganieva saw a golden ticket,” Black’s lawyers wrote. “He has repeatedly asked for things like an expensive apartment for rent on the Upper East Side… A luxury car; productive vacations… Schooling (to act and at Columbia University); jewelry and clothing; a Steinway’s plan; a self-portrait of $ 40,000 (which she kept hanging in her apartment); and lots and lots of money – all in millions of dollars. “
Monday’s presentation contradicts Ganieva’s account of a 2014 incident during which she claimed that Black “broke into” her apartment and raped her. Black’s lawyers say the meeting was actually a “planned romantic evening.”
The billionaire “showed up precisely at the appointed time with the wine, as requested, to” put “Ganieva in bed,” the lawyers wrote. They added that Ganieva later sent “a message of thanks and love” saying, “It was very nice to see you last night. I already feel better.”
However, in June 2015, Black’s lawyers said that Ganieva started “what can only be described as a brazen shakedown”, demanding a sum of $ 100 million and explicitly stating that it would damage her personal life and Mr. Black’s professionalism, ”unless he pays for it.
To begin with, say Black’s lawyers, Ganieva claimed that she “had been” like a wife “and” based on this flawed reasoning … she claimed the right to half of her earnings. ”
But when Black “made it known that” having an intermittent affair “for” five years “was not” similar to a marriage, “his lawyers say Ganieva changed her to making claims that she herself characterized as” paranoid. “.
“He could have given me a job,” Ganieva said. “Could you give me a visa?” . . This time. . . I want to tell you and I want to do what is right for me. I totally deserve it. “
Ganieva’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Black’s lawyers, the couple met at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York in October of that year to finalize a deal. Black promised to pay $ 100,000 a month for the next 15 years. Black’s presentation claims that Ganieva admitted to making “certain accusations … under extreme stress and that she now admits they are not true,” and vowed never to prosecute Black for anything that had happened in the past or divulging any information that could harm his career.
The October meeting was also recorded. Ganieva took about 12 minutes to review the one-page document, according to Black’s lawyers. They say that after her signing, Ganieva declared herself “a middle-aged woman”, and the couple shared a Grand Marnier soufflé.
Black always refuses to threaten to destroy Ganieva’s life or put her in prison. “If a private citizen even had the power to do such things,” his lawyers write, “it’s not clear why this person would force millions of dollars on someone instead of just doing these things.”
The billionaire says he made his monthly payments until March of this year, when Ganieva posted “defamatory tweets” accusing Black of abusing her.
Ganieva’s case said the payments came from an account called “E Trust,” an entity she said she had never heard of.
“To be very clear,” Black’s lawyers wrote in their presentation Monday, “the ‘E’ in ‘E Trust’ means ‘Extortion.’