embattled Wall Street billionaire Leon Black countered allegations on Monday that he intimidated and sexually assaulted a Russian model, saying instead that he was the victim of an extortion scheme
Wall Street billionaire and Jeffrey Epstein associate Leon Black has admitted to having an affair with a Russian model but furiously denied her claims that he raped and intimidated her – saying that she roped him into an extortion scheme by threatening to go public with their relationship.
Guzel Ganieva, 38, branded Black, 69, a ‘violent, sadistic’ sexual predator who raped and harassed her before coercing her into signing a non-disclosure agreement in a defamation lawsuit exposed exclusively by DailyMail.com last month.
Black, the married co-founder of Apollo Global Management, responded to the lawsuit in a scathing filing on Monday in which he branded Ganieva’s case ‘a work of fiction’.
Black said he and Ganieva had engaged in a consensual affair starting in 2008 until 2015 – when he claims she extorted him by threatening to take their relationship public if he did not pay her $100million.
While he did not meet her initial demand, in exchange for her silence Black said he agreed to forgive $1million in loans he made to her, and to make $100,000 monthly payments for 15 years.
Former model Guzel Ganieva accused Black of being a ‘violent, sadistic’ sexual predator who raped and harassed her then coerced her into signing an NDA
Black, 69, resigned his position as head of Apollo on March 22, just days after Ganieva went public with her claims that Black had ‘abused’ her ‘for years.’
Black has denied that his resignation had anything to do with the series of tweets posted by Ganieva, which came after he was already under scrutiny for standing by pedophile financier Epstein for years.
His 52-page response to her lawsuit filed on June 1 includes text message exchanges between the two, and accounts of conversations based off of recordings he said he secretly made.
He said he had lavished Ganieva with millions of dollars in gifts including a Steinway piano, acting classes at Columbia University, a $40,000 commissioned portrait of her, rent for an Upper East Side apartment among many others, according to the suit.
In 2015, however, Black alleges that Ganieva had threatened to go public about their relationship, which led to him broaching a non-disclosure agreement with the Russian model.
Black is seen with his wife Debra Black in 2017
Ganieva asserted that the NDA had a vastly different goal. She claims it was reached after she alleged that on July 6, 2014, Black raped her when she was sick at home and so weak she could barely walk.
Her suit claims: ‘Never a match for his physical size and strength on this day in particular Ms. Ganieva knew what fate was in store.’
It goes onto claim that, after he had finished, Black stated, ‘Now I have f**** you,’ before walking out leaving Ganieva naked and unable to move.
The following year Black allegedly offered ‘forgiveness’ on Ganieva’s loans on condition that she signed an NDA.
‘Disgustingly he used his extreme power and wealth to coerce her into signing a non-disclosure agreement in October 2015 because he knew what he had done to her was shocking, evil and exposed him to potential criminal charges,’ she alleges.
Black dispute’s Ganieva’s side of the encounter, and in the suit includes text messages from before and after the alleged rape.
According to his suit, Black was aware Ganieva was ill, but that on July 2 she told him that she was feeling better, and on July 6 she texted him: ‘This is love. I need you…’
When he agreed to stop by, he says she asked for a bottle of wine.
After the encounter Black says Ganieva texted him again, saying: ‘It was very nice to see you last night…I love you and thank you!!!! Xoxoxoxoxo and more love.’
Ganieva initially went public with her allegations against Black in a series of tweets on March 17. Black claims her account was made for the sole purpose of defaming him
Black stepped down from his role as CEO of Apollo after he was revealed as a longtime associate of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Black (right) was with Epstein at a screening of the film Capote in 2005
In particular, Black’s filing claims that Ganieva, ‘never—not once, in a series of in-person meetings during her extortion campaign, or at any other time—claimed sexual or physical abuse of any kind.’
Other accounts disputed by Black includes claims that Ganieva left the country with her son, shortly after the alleged rape to distance her from him.
He says her student visa had expired, and on the day of her departure sent him flowers and a text saying: ‘I love you and miss you already.’
Ganieva initially went public with her allegations on March 17 with a series of tweets in which she said she was ‘bullied, manipulated, threatened, and coerced,’ and revealed the existence of the NDA.
She had created the Twitter accounted that month, and Black’s suit alleges that it had been ‘set up for the sole purpose of publishing the defamatory tweets.’
‘When I refused his sexual advances I was bullied, manipulated, threatened and coerced. Similarly, under duress I was forced to sign an NDA in 2015,’ she had written, claiming, ‘I am breaking my silence now because I do not want this type of predatory behavior to continue happening to other women.’
Black countered that the NDA had come at Ganieva’s suggestion, and that she happily signed it, texting him afterward: ‘Thank you for everything. Talk soon.’
Black filed his 52-page countersuit on Monday
That month Black had stepped down from his role at Apollo after he described his decision to give Epstein a ‘second chance’ as, ‘a terrible mistake.’
Black denied his resignation had anything to do with Ganieva’s tweets.
In an article published by Bloomberg on April 8, Black said, ‘Any allegation or any other inappropriate behavior towards her is completely fabricated.’
He went onto to claim, ‘The truth is that I have been extorted by Ms. Ganieva for years and I made substantial monetary payments to her, based on her threats to go public concerning our relationship, in an attempt to spare my family from public embarrassment.’
The lawsuit filed on Ganieva’s behalf by Widgdor Law describes this statement as malicious and ‘right from the playbook of scores of wealthy and powerful men facing similar accusations.’
Comparing Black to Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Haggis and Alan Dershowitz and Russell Simmons all of whom accused their own would-be accusers of attempted ‘shake downs’ the suit dismisses his claims as false and defamatory.
Ganaieva in her suit alleges that, ‘like a master chess player… Black was many moves ahead of Ms. Ganieva from the moment he met her.’
Black allegedly ‘picked her out of a crowd’ in March 2008 while attending an International Women’s Day event in New York City.
The single mother, then in her twenties, had recently moved from Russia to the United States. According to her case, ‘It was easy work for Black to convince Ms. Ganieva to dine with him at La Grenouille where he planned to tell her exactly how he could help with her future.’
Black allegedly gained Ganieva’s trust so that he could betray it while Ganieva was flattered and naïve as to his intentions.
The suit states, ‘Naively Ms Ganieva believed that Black was not interested in her sexually, simply because she told him that their relationship would not be sexual.
‘Black, however, is a ruthless planner and a man that gets what he wants.’