The CEO and chairman of private equity firm Apollo Management Group is resigning after drawing scrutiny for money he paid to Jeffrey Epstein, the New York Times reports.
Leon Black has been at the center of an internal review by board members of Apollo after NYT broke the story that he’d given millions of dollars to the financier and convicted sex offender, after Epstein was first convicted of sex crimes. Black released a statement claiming he would relinquish the role of CEO while remaining on Apollo's board.
“I have advised the Apollo board that I will retire as C.E.O. on or before my 70th birthday in July and remain as chairman,” he said.
NYT initially found that Black had paid Epstein nearly $75 million in the last decade. This kicked off further review, which put the amount of the payments made to Epstein at $158 million. It almost goes without saying that Black, whose personal wealth hovers around $9 billion, could have had his pick of financial advisers. The decision to stick with Epstein, a college dropout whose investments weren’t particularly noteworthy and whose name had been tarnished by prostitution convictions, kicked off a round of scrutiny. Black’s representatives stated and the review confirmed that Black received legitimate financial advice from Epstein.
“Mr. Black received personal trusts and estates planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services from several financial and legal advisers, including Mr. Epstein, during a six-year period, between 2012 and 2017,” Black’s spokeswoman Stephanie Pillersdorf told NYT. “The trusts and estate planning advice was vetted by leading auditors and law firms.”
The review found Black was forgiving of Epstein’s criminal past, saying he’d “served his time.” The pair broke off their relationship some time in 2018. Epstein was arrested on the belief that he was running a sex trafficking ring for global elites in July of 2019. He was found dead in his cell under circumstances that many people find questionable a little over a month later.