A second woman has come forward with allegations of rape against Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of Apollo Global Management, claiming in court documents filed late Monday she was raped by the private equity giant inside Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse two decades ago—allegations Black’s lawyers have dismissed as a “complete fiction.”
The claims from the woman, identified as “Jane Doe,” were filed as part of an ongoing civil lawsuit against Black launched earlier this year by Guzel Ganieva, a former Russian model who alleges she was forced into a years-long sexual relationship with Black, allegations that Black denies.
Ganieva’s legal team previously claimed Black, who has known connections to Epstein, once flew her to Florida against her will to “satisfy the sex needs” of the disgraced financier, who the ex-model claimed Black labeled his “best friend (Black’s lawyers have also denied these claims).
On Monday, lawyers for Ganieva escalated these allegations, claiming Black also raped a second woman, described as a financially struggling single mother in New Jersey who he met through Epstein.
Doe gave a handful of massages to Epstein during which he repeatedly tried to force her to perform oral sex before Epstein introduced her to Black, someone Epstein said could “help” her, according to the court filing.
Upon meeting at Epstein’s townhouse in 2002, Black and Doe went to Epstein’s “massage room” where Black gave the woman $300 for a massage, but then raped her, the court filing alleges, adding that she was in “such agony that she could barely speak or breathe.”
Ganieva’s lawyers say the woman confided in a friend two weeks after the alleged rape took place but “decided she would not tell her story” because the friend reacted poorly and warned no-one would believe her.
A spokesperson for Black labeled these allegations “a baseless smear campaign” intended only to “publicly destroy Mr., Black’s personal and professional reputation and to defame him.”
“This claim is complete fiction and has no basis in law or fact,” the spokesperson said in an email to Forbes. “It is telling that it is asserted anonymously and concerns events that allegedly occurred some 20 years ago, 15 years after the statute of limitations expired. We expect that the courts will see this frivolous claim for precisely what it is.”
“Ms. Doe’s horrific experiences place Black squarely within Epstein’s immediate nefarious sexual circle,” wrote Ganieva’s lawyer, Jeanne Christensen of Wigdor LLP, in a Monday court filing. “Not only do her facts suggest that Epstein introduced Black to her on purpose and with the intent that she meet Black at Epstein’s home for a ‘massage,’ it shows that contrary to Black’s version of events that he knew ‘nothing’ about Epstein’s sexual wrongdoing, as alleged, Black was perpetrating his own sexual crimes at Epstein’s home as far back as 2002.”
Ganieva filed a lawsuit in June accusing Black, 69, of coercing her into signing a nondisclosure agreement to stay silent about years of “sexual violence,” including rape, and using his money and power to exert control over her after the two met while Ganieva, now 38 years old, was in her eary 20s. But Black—in a 52-page preliminary statement, answer and countersuit filed July 19—deemed Ganieva’s claims a “work of fiction,” saying though he had an affair with the model from 2008 to 2015 while he was still married, it was a consensual relationship that she spun into an “extortion scheme.” Black’s lawyers said in the court filing he gave Ganieva millions of dollars in gifts during their relationship, including a pricey Upper East Side apartment, a Steinway piano and her tuition paid at Columbia University, all of which made him an “easy target” for extortion. Ganieva responded with her allegations about Black trafficking her to Epstein, after which Black’s legal team said in a court filing they would no longer be filing a counterclaim as Black didn’t want to delay the case.
Days after Ganieva first went public with her claims in March, Black unexpectedly resigned as chairman of Apollo and handed over the CEO reins months earlier than previously planned, in a management shift precipitated by scrutiny over his connection to Epstein, the disgraced financier who died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on human trafficking charges. Black also announced he would not run for reelection as the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art. An investigation by Apollo’s board of directors revealed earlier this year that Black paid Epstein $158 million in fees and services, loaned him over $30 million and made a $10 million donation to Epstein’s charity before the two cut off their relationship in 2018 over a “fee dispute.” While the probe by law firm Dechert found “no evidence Mr. Black was involved in any way with Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities at the time,” the vast sums of money forwarded to Epstein for what Black described as “professional services to my family partnership and related family entities” drew scrutiny over how Black may have supported Epstein’s accused criminal behavior. Black has claimed he had no knowledge of the sexual trafficking of minors Epstein was allegedly engaged in.
$9.6 billion. That’s how much Black is worth according to Forbes’ estimates. He ranks #288 among the richest people in the world.