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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

Hill votes will make global waves

President Biden addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 21, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

This epic week for President Biden on Capitol Hill is even bigger than his domestic agenda.

Why it matters: Biden has anchored his entire strategy for foreign affairs on the notion that "America is back." What that means in practice is that Biden needs to prove democracy works to rally America’s liberal allies against rising authoritarians.

3 hours ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The first exit poll from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a dead heat at 25%, leaving the race to succeed Angela Merkel too close to call.

The state of play: A second exit poll showed the SPD narrowly ahead. That's the one televisions displayed at SPD headquarters in Berlin, where the room erupted into cheers. Official results will roll in throughout the evening.

Abbott says he'll hire Border Patrol agents on horseback if they're fired

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Sunday defended the actions of U.S. Border Patrol agents who charged at Haitian migrants on horseback, blaming the Biden administration for not preventing them from crossing the border.

Why it matters: Abbott's remark on "Fox News Sunday" comes amid increased backlash over the incident, with President Biden saying, "I promise... those people will pay,” and the Department of Homeland Security launching an investigation.