Jeffrey Epstein was a key motive for tensions on the prime of Apollo World Administration that lately spurred the exit of two of its three remaining co-founders — and the awkwardness started a decade in the past, The Submit has discovered.
It was in 2011 that billionaire Leon Black — who on March 22 revealed he was stepping down from the helm of the large buyout agency ahead of anticipated amid controversy over his Epstein ties — first floated the thought of working with the now-dead pedophile to his fellow co-founders Josh Harris and Marc Rowan, in keeping with sources near the state of affairs.
That’s even supposing Epstein had been convicted three years earlier for soliciting prostitution from a 14-year-old woman. Within the meantime, Black had continued to affiliate with him — and was prodding Harris and Rowan to rent Epstein to do some work for them and probably for Apollo, in keeping with the sources.
“Leon affirmatively really useful Epstein — it was greater than a passing remark,” one supply mentioned. “He wished Apollo to rent him.”
Harris and Rowan — repelled by Epstein and anxious about injury to Apollo’s repute — mentioned no, and the conversations by no means superior, in keeping with the sources. Nonetheless, tensions between the co-founders over Epstein — notably between Black and Harris — endured, and have become a key challenge as Black introduced his shock exit from the agency in March.
Final week, Harris mentioned he was exiting the firm, leaving Rowan, the only remaining co-founder, to function chief govt.
“These assertions, made by an unnamed supply, are utterly unfaithful,” mentioned a spokesman for Black.
“Apollo by no means mentioned or thought of hiring Jeffrey Epstein,” an Apollo spokesman mentioned.
In accordance with sources, nonetheless, Black had been pitching Harris and Rowan on Epstein’s prowess on the subject of tax- and estate-planning — the identical companies for which, it was revealed earlier this yr, Black had racked up an eye-popping tab of $158 million with Epstein. Past that, insiders mentioned Black was signaling that Apollo would possibly rent Epstein as a advisor on investments — or probably enter into investments with him, the sources mentioned.
Black, regardless of being turned down by Rowan and Harris, “doesn’t like taking ‘No’ for a solution,” in keeping with a supply briefed on the state of affairs. And for years he continued to drift doing varied tasks with Epstein to his cohorts at Apollo.
That, in flip, helped heighten tensions between the three executives — notably Black and Harris, who have been locked in a rising energy battle as Harris steadily took on extra day-to-day tasks operating the $455 billion private-equity powerhouse, sources mentioned.
“It’s been a sluggish burn between Josh and Leon since,” a supply mentioned. “Leon would convey Jeffrey [up] and he was rebuffed in methods massive and small.”
Tensions over Epstein got here to a head in January, when Harris demanded that Black step down over considerations that his Epstein ties would tarnish the agency, sources mentioned.
In response, Black named Rowan his successor as CEO — a shock transfer on condition that Harris had been taking over an more and more essential operational function whereas Rowan had been taking over fewer duties on the agency, in keeping with sources.
An investigation by the regulation agency Dechert whose outcomes have been made public in January concluded that “whereas Black didn’t attempt to strain his co-founders to make use of Epstein, he did positively touch upon the substantial worth of Epstein’s companies and, at Epstein’s repeated request, did attempt to introduce Epstein to his co-founders.”
“Ultimately, neither co-founder employed Epstein or consulted with him on their private issues,” the report launched Jan. 22 mentioned.
Whereas the report didn’t give a selected timeline for the disagreements over Epstein, “Dechert has additionally decided that Epstein unsuccessfully sought to pitch enterprise alternatives to sure Apollo senior executives, none of which have been pursued by Apollo or these executives,” in keeping with the report.
As beforehand reported by The Submit, Epstein was listed as a director on the board of Black’s charity, the Black Household Basis, between 2001 and 2012.
On the time, Black’s reps insisted that Epstein had been listed as a director for the 4 years following his conviction solely due to a clerical error.