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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis/Getty Images

Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black on Thursday said during an earnings call that he made a "terrible mistake" by employing Jeffrey Epstein to work on personal financial and philanthropic services.

Why it matters: Apollo is one of the world's largest private equity firms, and already has lost at least one major client over Black's involvement with Epstein.

Black began the call saying that "it runs counter to my nature to speak publicly about personal matters," but believed he must because those matters are now affecting Apollo.

  • "With the benefit of hindsight, working with [Epstein] was a horrible decision on my part."
  • Black reiterated that Apollo never did business with Epstein. He also said that there is vetted documentation of the professional services provided by Epstein to Black and Black's family foundation, related to "estate planning, tax, structuring of art entities and philanthropic advice" between 2012 and 2017."
  • Black explained that while he knew of Epstein's 2008 guilty plea in Florida for soliciting an underage girl for sex, he was led to believe Epstein had rehabilitated himself as evidenced by the "distinguished" people with whom Epstein associated.
  • Black rejected any suggestion that he was ever blackmailed by Epstein, calling it "categorically untrue."
  • He said that he wasn't made aware of the most "reprehensible" allegations against Epstein until "late 2018," even though many of them were reported on years earlier.

Black declined to take questions on Epstein from analysts, citing an investigation being conducted by law firm Dechert on Apollo's behalf.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

Wall Street titan Leon Black stepping down as Apollo's CEO

Credit: Apollo

Leon Black is stepping down as CEO of investment giant Apollo Global Management, following the conclusion of an independent investigation into his interactions with Jeffrey Epstein.

Why it matters: Black has long been one of Wall Street's top power brokers, and he's one of the people responsible for helping to create the modern private equity industry.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities tied to Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.