When Apollo founder Leon Black abruptly left the firm months earlier than planned, many wondered if a woman's allegations that Black had sexually abused and harassed her had anything to do with the CEO's decision. Whether it did, or not, Black conceded to having a consensual sexual affair with the woman, before claiming that she was trying to 'extort' him. The CEO was already under fire over his close ties to deceased pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, leading some to wonder whether Epstein might have compromising information on Black (like he was rumored to have on his other exceptionally wealthy "friends").
Now, months after he stepped down, Black's accuser, a woman named Guzel Ganieva, has filed a lawsuit against Black alleging defamation, as well as sexual assault and harassment.
It's worth noting that an internal review conducted by law firm Dechert found no evidence of any involvement on Black's part in the criminal activities of Epstein, who was indicted in 2019 on federal sex-trafficking charges involving underage girls. But, according to WSJ, the contents of Ganieva's lawsuit are "certainly disconcerting." In the filing, Ganieva, a Russian immigrant who was in her early 20s and working as a model when she met Black at an International Women’s Day event in New York in 2008, alleges the billionaire "forced sadistic sexual acts on her without her consent," and lent her money as a way of exerting control over her and promised to help her get work beyond modeling that never materialized.
She said she was inspired to "go public" after Black claimed that nobody had ever accused him of sexual wrongdoing. A spokesperson for Black vigorously denied the allegations.
"This frivolous lawsuit is riddled with lies, and is nothing more than a wholesale fiction," Black's spokesman said in a statement. The spokesman said Black, who is married, had a consensual relationship with Ganieva for six years and then paid her substantial sums over many years after she threatened to go public and tell his family.
Ganieva said in a series of tweets that she was sexually abused by Black for years and that he forced fer to sign an NDA back in 2015. Those tweets went unnoticed for weeks, until the New York Post reported on them.
Ganieva expanded on these allegations in the lawsuit. Isays that Black repeatedly threatened her to take the hush money he was offering, and that if she ever tried to expose him, he would "destroy your life", or "put you in prison." The lawsuit also alleges that Black never worried about being "exposed" for his relationship with Ganieva, since he took her on many public outings, including sitting courtside at MSG and to movie premiers, including the 2012 red-carpet premier for "The King's Speech". "What Black was worried about, however, is being exposed for the sadist that he is."
The lawsuit goes on to accuse Black of manipulating Ganieva, then, after gaining her trust, he "forced sadistic sexual acts on her without her consent and despite her saying no." The first of these acts allegedly happened in 2008 not long after the two met, when Black allegedly took Ganieva to a studio apartment with a mattress on the floor. These "sadistic" sexual acts often were "physically painful" for Ganieva. Specific details of "derogatory and controlling conduct" include the following:
Read the rest of the lawsuit below: