Finance

Billionaire Apollo CEO Leon Black to resign after investigation reveals he paid $158 million to Jeffrey Epstein (APO)

  • Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black is resigning following an investigation into his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The independent review unearthed $158 million in payments to Epstein and his charity.
  • It also concluded neither Black nor Apollo employees were involved in Epstein’s criminal activities.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apollo Global Management Chief Executive Leon Black is stepping down following the results of an independent investigation into his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the firm said on Monday.

The report found larger than previously known payments from Black to the disgraced financier, though it said that the payments were for legitimate financial and tax-planning services.  

Epstein was arrested in 2019 on suspicion of trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 in the early 2000s, before dying while in federal prison.

“Chairman and CEO Leon Black has informed the Board of Directors that he will retire as CEO effective on or before July 31, 2021 consistent with best-in-class governance practices,” Apollo said in a statement, adding that co-founder Marc Rowan would take over as CEO, while Black would remain as chairman.

Read more: Jeffrey Epstein was the sole director of private-equity guru Leon Black’s family foundation for more than a decade. Epstein stayed on even after pleading guilty to soliciting prostitution.

Apollo, founded in 1990, is an investment firm that buys and lends to companies. Some of its recent acquisitions include photo retailers Snapfish and Shutterfly, and, throughout the pandemic, it invested in companies like Expedia and Airbnb. The firm manages more than $440 billion in assets and employs more than 1,600 employees, including 500 investment professionals, working from 15 global offices. 

The review, conducted by the law firm Dechert, found Black had paid $158 million to Epstein from 2012 to 2017 for a “variety of issues related to trust and estate planning, tax, philanthropy, and the operation of the Family Office.”

Dechert’s investigation also found neither Black, nor any employees of Apollo or Black’s family office were involved with any of Epstein’s criminal activity, and that “there is no evidence that Epstein ever introduced Black, or offered to introduce Black, to any underage woman,” though it noted that Black and Epstein continued to communicate until October 2018.

Following his death, many wondered how Epstein could have amassed his wealth. Some of his closest friends in the business community included retail magnate Leslie Wexner, Johnson & Johnson heiress Elizabeth Johnson, and hedge-fund billionaire Glenn Dubin.

Epstein was listed as the sole director of Black’s family foundation for more than a decade, his name appearing on tax filings even after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl. Apollo later said that his name was included on tax forms in error and that Epstein stepped down as director in 2007.

Read more:‘Uncle Jeff’: Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship with the 24-year-old daughter of billionaire hedge-fund founder Glenn Dubin is more complex than previously known

Later, in October 2020, The New York Times reported that Black wired Epstein at least $50 million in the years after Epstein’s 2008 conviction. A spokesperson for Black told the publication that Black “received personal trusts and estate planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services from several financial and legal advisors, including Mr. Epstein, during a six year period between 2012 and 2017.”

Later the same month, Apollo announced that a group of board members, at the request of Black, would review Black’s relationship with Epstein, with the law firm Dechert retained to conduct a review and provide a report on the matter.

In stepping down from Apollo, Black marks the latest billionaire with Epstein ties to announce his resignation.

In January 2020, Dubin stepped back from his hedge fund, Engineers Gate, to invest in private markets, though Dubin told Reuters the decision had nothing to do with his family’s ties to Epstein.

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