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Apollo CEO Leon Black steps down over $150 million payment to Epstein

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

Apollo Global Management Inc.’s CEO Leon Black will step down after an independent review exposed Black’s massive payments to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The months-long review deemed the payments justified, though they were larger than authorities expected, the Wall Street Journal reported. Conducted by Dechert LLP, the review also did not find any evidence that Black had been involved in Epstein’s criminal activities, according to the WSJ.

“In short, there is no question that Epstein performed substantive work for Black and that Black genuinely believed that Epstein was extremely smart, capable, and saved him substantial amounts of money,” the report said, according to the WSJ.

Epstein died of apparent suicide in a federal jail in New York City in August 2019 after he was arrested the previous summer.

Black had paid Epstein over $150 million for advice on both trust and estate tax planning, the WSJ reported, numbers that are much more than was previously reported.

The Apollo CEO pledged to donate $200 million of his family’s wealth to women’s initiatives, according to the publication, and will step down on or before his 70th birthday in late July. He will retain his role as chairman.

The move comes after a number of institutions said they would pause their investments with Apollo after the New York Times reported that Black had paid Epstein at least $50 million — prompting Black to call for a review of his relationship with the convicted sex offender, the WSJ reported.

Black’s last payment to Epstein was in April 2017, according to the publication. Their relationship reportedly deteriorated after a fee dispute in 2016.

“It is important to emphasize that both Apollo and I condemn Mr. Epstein’s reprehensible conduct in the strongest possible terms, and, as I have previously stated, I deeply regret having had any involvement with Mr. Epstein,” Black wrote in a letter to Apollo’s fund investors.

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