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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When Jeffrey Epstein was barred from donating money to MIT, a university development officer suggested that "the Leon Black route" be used instead. As I reported back in September, Epstein engineered donations to MIT from Black, the chairman and CEO of private equity giant Apollo. Now it looks like he did something very similar at Harvard.

Driving the news: Harvard's official report on its Epstein connections has now been published, showing how professor Martin Nowak was funded after Epstein was convicted of sex crimes in 2008.

  • Background: Nowak's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics "was established in 2003 by Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers following an imaginative proposal by Jeffrey Epstein." That's according to the first version of the center's website.

Barred from donating to the university after his conviction, Epstein remained very close to Nowak.

  • When Nowak needed more money after Epstein's initial $6.5 million ran out, the pedophile financier introduced him to Black.
  • Black had no pre-existing relationship with Nowak but ended up providing $7 million in unrestricted gifts to allow the professor to keep paying rent on his research space in Brattle Square.
  • After those checks cleared, Epstein maintained an office in the research quarters that Black's money paid for. According to the report, "it is likely that he visited PED's offices more than 40 times between 2010 and 2018, including visits as recently as October 2018."
  • The report adds: "Epstein was routinely accompanied on these visits by young women, described as being in their 20s, who acted as his assistants."

Black confirms to Axios via a spokesperson that he was introduced to Nowak by Epstein, and says that the funds he gave to Nowak were not "provided by Mr. Epstein."

The bottom line: At MIT, Black was viewed as a donor who owed Epstein favors, and who could be relied on to provide cash at Epstein's behest. Black has an MBA from Harvard, making donations to his alma mater look slightly less suspicious. But they do seem to follow the same pattern.

Go deeper: How Jeffrey Epstein supported Harvard after his conviction

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.