Jan 15, 2020

Dueling claims between MIT's Epstein investigator and Leon Black

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last Friday, MIT released an unredacted version of the 61-page report by law firm Goodwin Procter into Jeffrey Epstein's donations to the university.

What's new: There is a dispute as to the cooperation of Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black, a onetime Epstein client who in 2014 made an anonymous $5 million donation to MIT which Epstein claimed to have arranged.

  • Goodwin Procter's lead investigator Roberto Braceras tells Axios: "We were unable to connect with representatives of Mr Black."
  • A spokesperson for Leon Black tells Axios: “No one associated with the investigation contacted Mr. Black at Apollo or at his family office. Any suggestion that Mr. Black did not cooperate with the MIT/Goodwin investigation is categorically false.”

Someone is lying. Or, at best, painfully twisting the truth. And that brings us back to how little we still know about the relationship between Epstein and Black, the CEO of a publicly traded investment giant with more than $300 billion in assets under management.

Goodwin's report says "we did not find any evidence" that Black's donation was actually Epstein's money (i.e., no "laundering").

  • It does not address why Black donated $10 million to Epstein's charity after he pleaded guilty to soliciting underage prostitutes (186 days of silence and counting).
  • It also doesn't address how its findings square with its other findings that then-MIT Media Lab chief Joi Ito suggested that MIT "swap donations with someone else's foundation," in order to avoid the scrutiny that would come from accepting cash from a convicted child sex offender.

The bottom line: After 61 pages, the math still doesn't add up.

Go deeper: Pro Rata Podcast on MIT's Epstein loophole

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