Billionaire Sues Ex-Model Who Accused Him of Rape

Leon Black accuses Guzel Ganieva, law firm of trying to extort him
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2021 4:01 AM CDT
Billionaire Sues Ex-Model Who Accused Him of Rape
"The defendants here created an Enterprise to extort and cancel one of the world’s most prominent business leaders," Black's lawsuit states.   (Getty Images/12963734)

Billionaire financier Leon Black is suing a Russian former model he had a yearslong affair with, claiming her accusation of rape is part of a conspiracy against him. The 70-year-old, who stepped down as CEO of Apollo Global Management earlier this year over his links to Jeffrey Epstein, is suing Guzel Ganieva, her law firm, and three unnamed defendants, Forbes reports. In a lawsuit filed in June, Ganieva, 38, said Black "forced sadistic sexual acts on her without her consent." In court documents filed in August, she alleged that Black once flew her to Florida, "without her consent, to satisfy the sex needs of Epstein, his 'best friend.'"

Last month, the lawsuit was amended to include an allegation from another former model, identified only as Jane Doe, who said Black raped her at Epstein's townhouse in 2002. Sources tell Vanity Fair that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation. Black, who is married, has admitted having what he calls a "regrettable" and "sporadic" consensual relationship with Ganieva from 2008 until 2014, reports Reuters. She says he forced her to sign an NDA in 2015. Her lawsuit accuses Black of defaming her by alleging that she tried to extort him for money after the relationship ended. In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Black accuses Ganieva and the other defendants of defamation and racketeering conspiracy.

The suit accuses them of trying to extort him with false allegations. It alleges that defendants identified as John Doe 1, 2, and 3 funded Ganieva's legal efforts and promoted them in the media. "Knowing that to him, and in his world, reputation matters, they set about to destroy him and make him pay anything to make them stop," the lawsuit states, per Reuters. Jeanne Christensen from Widgor LLP, the law firm representing Ganieva, described Black's lawsuit as an "obvious act of retaliation." Black, whose fortune is estimated at $11 billion, announced his retirement from Apollo after an independent review found that he had paid the convicted sex offender $158 million over five years, mostly for financial services. (More Leon Black stories.)

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