Guzel Ganieva claims that Leon Black harassed her for years, and even raped her on several occasions.
Billionaire Leon Black is facing a fresh lawsuit from a woman who claims that he sexually assaulted and defamed her.
According to CNBC, the lawsuit was filed by Guzel Ganieva in early June.
In her lawsuit, Ganieva claims that Black defamed her after the former Apollo Global Management director denied her Twitter accusations that he “sexually harassed and abused” her “for years.”
Ganieva, says CNBC, had told news media in April that he had “foolishly had a consensual affair” with the woman. Black claims, and maintains, that Ganieva is trying to extort him.
However, Ganieva’s lawsuit alleges that Black subjected her to years’ worth of unwanted sexual harassment and assault. The complaint refers twice to Black committing “sexual assaults and rapes” against Ganieva.
Still, Black’s representatives deny the billionaire did anything wrong.
“Ms. Ganieva’s allegations of harassment and other inappropriate behavior are categorically untrue,” a Black spokesperson said in a statement. “Mr. Black emphatically denies each and every spurious allegation put forth in this lawsuit and looks forward to disproving them in court.”
“This frivolous lawsuit is riddled with lies, and is nothing more than a wholesale fiction,” he added.
The same spokesperson further said that Black had already made “substantial monetary payments” to Ganieva, who had purportedly threatened to make their relationship public if she was not compensated.
Ganieva, claims Black’s office, had a consensual relationship with Black for a half-decade. However, Black—who is married—alleges that Ganieva then tried to blackmail him, demanding money and loan repayment assistance in exchanged for her silence.
Ganieva’s lawsuit, adds CNBC, does recognize that the plaintiff received unspecified “regular payments” from Black over the course of about 5 ½ years. These payments commenced after Ganieva signed a nondisclosure agreement with Black in October 2015.
But Ganieva has a different explanation: her lawsuit says that Black used his money to silence her. In her complaint, Ganieva claims that she was coerced into signing the nondisclosure agreement, for which Black paid off nearly $960,000 worth of loans for the woman.
Black, writes The Wall Street Journal, stepped down as the CEO of Apollo after it was revealed he had paid $158 million to the late, disgraced financer Jeffrey Epstein. While a legal review found that Black was not involved with Epstein’s child trafficking racket, the association alone was enough to compel Black’s resignation.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Ganieva publicized her allegations against Black in March. However, her initial round of Twitter posts went unnoticed for weeks, until the New York Post wrote an article on them.