Leon Black’s Epstein Nightmare Worsens


Inside the very bad couple of weeks of a multi-billionaire

I’m slowly emerging from a break following wrapping up my forthcoming Audible Original podcast series which will drop on September 21st.

Standby for details!

Meanwhile: an acquaintance in the art world stopped me in the street and asked “Can you believe the news about Leon Black?”

I was actually confused in the moment as to which piece of news he was referring to. Because Leon Black, who is the multi-billionaire who hung out with Jeffrey Epstein and admitted to paying him $158 million for tax advice and who stepped down from running the private equity giant Apollo Global Management, and from chairing the board of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), has had back-to-back bad news recently.

First: On July 21st it emerged in the New York Times that back in January Black paid the U.S. Virgin Islands $62.5 million to avoid being civilly sued in Epstein-related charges. (Epstein was domiciled in the US Virgin Islands. Its Attorney General is suing JP Morgan for $190 million claiming they banked Epstein, while aware of his sex-trafficking operation. JP Morgan has denied this. The bank has paid $290 million earlier this year to settle similar claims from Epstein survivors).

I’ve learned that lawyers representing the USVI interviewed Epstein survivors before settling with Black. The Times reported that Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing many Epstein survivors, was present at the mediation talks but told the Times reporter he was not “at liberty to discuss the topic.”

Whit Clay, a spokesman for Mr. Black, told the Times: “Mr. Black engaged and made payments to Jeffrey Epstein for legitimate financial advisory services, which, based on everything now known, he very much regrets. Consistent with settlements of other major U.S. banks, Mr. Black resolved the U.S.V.I.’s potential claims arising out of the unintended consequences of those payments. There is no suggestion in the U.S.V.I. settlement that Mr. Black was aware of or participated in any misconduct.”

Second: On July 24th, Senator Ron Wyden, the Finance Committee chair, published a sixteen-page letter he’d sent to Black’s lawyers, revealing that the Committee has been investigating Black’s tax and estate planning for over a year.

Sen. Wyden says this is due to “inconsistencies” in an “independent” report filed by the law firm Dechert LLP, in which Black explained away the $158 million to Epstein, who was neither an accountant or a lawyer, as payment for tax advice.

Read on at Vicky Ward Investigates