The Weinstein Company was reportedly made aware of financial settlements with alleged sexual harassment victims in 2015, despite issuing a statement Tuesday calling the allegations against Harvey Weinstein "an utter surprise." David Boies—a former lawyer for Weinstein—told the New York Times Wednesday night that the company board was informed of "three or four" confidential settlements two years ago.
Boies represented Weinstein during contract renewal negotiations, which took place around the same time model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told police Weinstein had groped her. Audio of Weinstein admitting to the groping was later released by the New Yorker.
The board member who handled Weinstein's negotiations, Lance Maerov, also acknowledged being previously informed of the settlements. Maerov claimed to the Times that he thought the payoffs were being used to "cover up consensual affairs."
In a statement earlier this week, prior to the Times report on payoffs, the remaining members of the Weinstein Company board said they were "shocked and dismayed" by the allegations. "These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency," the statement said. "These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false."
Thursday morning, the New York City Police Department confirmed that the wave of allegations had prompted them to open a criminal investigation. "Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter," an NYPD rep told Variety.
London's Metropolitan Police Service has also opened an investigation, telling the Wrap Thursday that "an allegation of sexual assault" had been passed to their department by Merseyside Police this week. Though London police did not identify the suspect, multiple publications have since reported it to be Weinstein.
A previous investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in 2015 resulted in the audio of Weinstein admitting to groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. At the time, however, the DA declined to pursue charges.