Apollo Global Management head Leon Black has been forced out of his own company due to his controversial relationship with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Black was under a great deal of criticism in the last three months over the more than $150 million he paid out to the convicted rapist who committed suicide while in prison.
On Monday Apollo Global Management announced that Leon Black would be retiring – as they put it – from his position as CEO of the firm effective on July 31, 2021. But Black will continue to serve as Apollo’s Chairman. That date also happens to be Leon Black’s 70th birthday.
Last fall Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management began losing a number of important accounts over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Black had paid more than $50 million in various fees to Jeffrey Epstein occurring between the infamous rapist’s first arrest and 2017.
According to reports, after Jeffrey Epstein’s first arrest back in 2008 Leon Black sent him a number of wire transfers, each in the millions of dollars, spanning a period of a few years, $10 million of which went to a foundation started by Epstein. He was also paid so called consulting fees which brought about suspicion from Deutsche Bank, where Mr. Epstein kept his accounts.
To the man on the street out there this all stinks of hush money. What, if anything, did Black get in return for his money? Leon Black, however, formally denied any involvement With Epstein’s crimes in official letters to Apollo Global Management.
He once wrote, “I want to emphasize that Apollo has never done any business with Mr. Epstein at any point in time. Neither Mr. Epstein nor any company controlled by him has ever invested in any funds managed by Apollo.”
And Black also added a denial of any knowledge about Jeffrey Epstein’s molestation of young girls writing, “I was completely unaware of, and am deeply troubled by, the conduct that is now the subject of the federal criminal charges brought against Mr. Epstein.”
Later Leon Black emphasized that no one had accused him of paying out any blackmail money to Jeffrey Epstein or using Apollo Global Management’s funds to do so. Black said, “Let me be clear. There has never been an allegation by anyone that I engaged in any wrongdoing, because I did not.”
He explained that the deals with the convicted rapist were only done out of a sense of trying to help a man when he was down saying, “Like many other people I respected, I decided to give Epstein a second chance. This was a terrible mistake. I wish I could go back in time and change that decision, but I cannot.”
But this last statement seriously strained credulity.
For his part, Leon Black tried to put a positive spin on the move making the usual statements of pride in his firm and the hard work he himself did in building it.
“I am extraordinarily proud of the firm I have helped build over the past 30 years and the value we bring to our clients, investors and communities,” said Black. Mr. Black also went on to sing the praises of his soon to be successor in the role of CEO Marc Rowan.