Apollo Global Management co-founder Leon Black said a former Russian model’s accusations that he tried to push her into a sexual encounter with Jeffrey Epstein are “demonstrably false,” according to a Wednesday court filing.
Black said he has proof that his onetime girlfriend Guzel Ganieva “simply invented” the connection to Epstein. Her initial complaint against the billionaire, filed in June, accused Black of defamation and said he had raped her, but didn’t mention Epstein.
“It speaks volumes that these outlandish allegations are only now appearing for the very first time,” the Wednesday filing said, referring to Ganieva’s amended complaint, which she filed in August. It was that complaint that for the first time mentioned Epstein.
Black said in Wednesday’s filing that he has tape recordings of Ganieva from around 2015 in which she says she has never met Epstein. He had questioned her at the time about whether she knew him, according to the filing.
“Common sense dictates that Mr. Black would never have asked such a question were the events described in [her] Amended [Aug. 9] Complaint true,” the filing said.
Ganieva’s amended complaint added explosive allegations to her original claim. It said that Black in 2008 flew her to Florida to have sex with Epstein in a threesome. Ganieva said she refused to have sex with the men despite Epstein’s assistant allegedly warning her that the men were “sex addicts” and that “there will be consequences” for displeasing them.
Had the incident actually happened, Black said in Wednesday’s filing, Ganieva would have recounted meeting Epstein in the 2015 recording. The filing says Ganieva suggested in the recording only that Epstein might have once called her.
Ganieva alleged last month that in 2008 while Epstein was serving a prison sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution, Black flew her in his private jet from Teterboro, NJ, to Palm Beach, Fla., to meet Epstein, whom he had previously referred to as his “best friend.” She alleged that Black hadn’t told her why he wanted to fly her to Florida.
Black in Wednesday’s filing said “aircraft records and flight manifests refute this fabricated story.”
Black has asked New York State Supreme Court Judge David Cohen to dismiss Ganieva’s defamation suit against him.
This battle between Black, the former chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, and the previously relatively unknown Ganieva, began in March when she alleged in a tweet that Black had sexually assaulted her. He hit back in the press claiming she had been extorting money from him. She then filed the original defamation suit before amending it.
Black filed a countersuit after Ganieva’s initial complaint, but it is not in his current defense.
Black asked in the Wednesday filing for the judge to impose sanctions on Ganieva and her attorneys, including Wigdor Partner Jeanne Christensen, for their “sanctionable litigation misconduct,” including what his attorneys said was the “outrageous” allegation of rape, which the filing said was made to destroy Black’s reputation.
Christensen, in a statement to The Post, said Black has concocted a false narrative about her client.
“Black’s billions and his powerful connections will not prevent the truth from coming out,” she said. “We are confident that a jury of Ms. Ganieva’s peers will hold Black accountable for Black’s horrific conduct as alleged in our complaint by Ms. Ganieva.”
So far, Black’s legal team has not produced the recordings of Ganieva, as well as what they allege are damning text messages from Ganieva professing her love for Black. They said they are willing to produce the evidence if Ganieva agrees to shield these recordings and messages from the public through a court protective order.
Black and Gaineva both say they had an affair from 2008 through 2014, and that the married Black paid money to Ganieva during that time to fund her education and pay her rent.
Then, both parties say Black and Ganieva in 2015 signed a non-disclosure agreement in which Black agreed to pay her more money to stay quiet about the affair. Black alleges she was extorting him; Ganieva alleges he forced her to sign the papers.
Black resigned from Apollo as CEO and chairman only days after the board became aware of Ganieva’s March tweets about allegedly being sexually assaulted. Black also decided around that time not to run for re-election as the chair of MoMA.
Apollo, aside from the Ganieva tweets, found a few months earlier that Black had paid Epstein $158 million between 2013 and 2017 for professional advice on tax audits, wealth management and estate planning. This came months after Black had said to the media that his family foundation had cut its ties to Epstein following his 2008 guilty plea.