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Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Private equity titan Leon Black — who earlier this year left Apollo Global Management, the alternative investing giant he co-founded and led — has been sued in New York State Supreme Court for sexual assault and defamation.

Driving the news: Guzel Ganieva, the woman with whom Black claims he had a "consensual affair," sued Black for allegedly lying about the nature of their relationship and for engaging in "forced sexual misconduct."

Why it matters: Black stepped down after at first ignoring questions about his dealings with Jeffrey Epstein, and then agreeing to an independent investigation that found no business relationship between the Apollo CEO and Epstein. There were no public allegations at the time that Black had personally engaged in sexual abuse.

  • If even half of what's alleged in this lawsuit is true, then Epstein is the least of Black's legal and reputational concerns.
  • Ganieva, a Russian immigrant and mother of one, claims that Black made her finally indebted to him, in part via a pair of $480,000 loans (with interest), and that he used that financial power for personal gratification. One alleged sexual episode is particularly gruesome.
  • She also claims to have signed an NDA with Black — of which she doesn't have a copy — in exchange for more payments, but chose to go public after Black stated that he "did not engage in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct" and his reference to their relationship as "consensual."

What Ganieva's lawyer is saying: "This case is the epitome of why #MeToo exists. In textbook fashion, men with wealth, power and an army of elite lawyers continue to escape accountability for their heinous acts by twisting the legal system to penalize their victims for speaking up."

What Black's spokesperson is saying:

"Ms. Ganieva's allegations of harassment and other inappropriate behavior are categorically untrue. This frivolous lawsuit is riddled with lies, and is nothing more than a wholesale fiction. The truth is that Leon Black had a wholly consensual relationship with Ms. Ganieva for six years, and then, as we have previously advised the criminal authorities, Mr. Black was subsequently extorted by Ms. Ganieva for many years and made substantial monetary payments to her based on her threats to go public about their relationship and cause him reputational risk and harm to his family. Mr. Black emphatically denies each and every spurious allegation put forth in this lawsuit and looks forward to disproving them in court."

The bottom line: For years, this narrative has been largely controlled by Black and Apollo. That's no longer the case.

Go deeper

Biden proclaims day of remembrance on 100th anniversary of Tulsa massacre

President Biden speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden issued a proclamation to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and declared Monday to be a "Day of Remembrance."

Driving the news: Biden said he wanted Americans to reflect on "this solemn centennial" the "deep roots of racial terror in our nation and recommit to the work of rooting out systemic racism across our country."

Jun 1, 2021 - World

Vatican criminalizes sexual abuse of adults by priests

Photo: Grzegorz Galazka/Archivio Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Image

Pope Francis on Tuesday changed a church law to criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests and other church officials, AP reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time Catholic Church law has recognized how sexual predators "groom" their victims based on power imbalances to build relationships that eventually lead to sexual abuse, per AP.

"This was not a riot": Biden commemorates anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Race Massacre survivors Viola Fletcher and Hughes Van Ellis watch as President Biden speaks during a commemoration of the massacre's 100th anniversary. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The acts of hate in Tulsa 100 years ago bear a "through line that exists today," President Biden said Tuesday, as he commemorated the anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Why it matters: The massacre, which killed an estimated 300 people and burned multiple blocks of the Black neighborhood Greenwood, is considered one of the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history. Survivors and their descendants have pressed for reparations for decades.