Leon Black could also be gearing as much as drag a few of his fellow billionaires into his messy authorized battle with a lady who has accused him of rape — together with Mort Zuckerman, the true property developer behind US Information & World Report, The Publish has discovered.
Russian mannequin Guzel Ganieva has publicly accused Black, the disgraced former head of Apollo International Administration, of paying her to signal a confidentially settlement in 2015 tied to her sexual assault and abuse allegations towards him. Black has countered that she signed the NDA in trade for $21 million to maintain quiet about their six-year lengthy consensual affair.
In in search of to show that he was the sufferer, Black on Monday filed a 52-page countersuit towards Ganieva that factors to recordings he claims he racked up of Ganieva’s typically “paranoid” explanations for why she ought to be paid to quietly stroll away from the affair.
The swimsuit alleges one recording had Ganieva complaining “a number of billionaires” had been “threatening her” and “could be concerned in a ‘conspiracy’ towards her,” together with a reference that The Publish has confirmed is to Zuckerman, the true property developer who purchased the US Information & World Report in 1984.
“Ganieva additionally claimed that a type of billionaires, who had given her a job as a author for his publication, was ‘making enjoyable’ of her and in addition had threatened to fireplace her until she slept with him,” based on Black’s Manhattan state court docket lawsuit.
A supply near the state of affairs stated the billionaire writer referenced is Zuckerman, who’s now in failing well being however nonetheless owns the journal even after selling the New York Daily News in 2017.
Ganieva’s byline is certainly connected to 2 articles for US Information & World Report in 2014, together with a Could story on Obamacare titled “Obamacare Enrollees, By the Numbers,” and an April story on local weather change, titled “Prime 10 Causes to Fear About Local weather Change.” No different information articles had been uncovered below Ganieva’s byline for that or another publication.
Eric Gertler, a Zuckerman relative who speaks for him, referred inquiries to US Information & World Report spokeswoman Maria Santucci. Santucci stated: “These allegations are baseless and designed to deflect consideration from a litigant’s personal actions.”
Some legal professionals speculated that Black is sending a sign to highly effective individuals who could have had ties to Ganieva — welcome or not — that they higher assist shut her up or they might all undergo.
The reference “is to let others know that they will get dragged into this and so they could need to put stress on her to drop the case,” opined Stephen Bourtin of the Boyd Regulation Group, which has labored for each sexual harassment victims and defendants.
“So long as they’re doing it this manner, it’s not witness tampering,” Bourtin stated. “They didn’t identify him, though they got here shut.”
One other lawyer, who requested to not be recognized, stated the previous Apollo head might also be in search of to suss out whether or not Ganieva had signed NDAs with anybody else.
“Possibly, he desires to point out she shook everybody down,” stated the lawyer, who isn’t concerned within the case. “Why did he finger Mort until the protection shall be that she is a grifter shakedown artist extraordinaire,” he speculated.
Reps for each Black and Ganieva declined remark.
Ganieva sued Black for defamation in June after he denied her sexual assault claims to The Publish in April by saying she was making an attempt to extort him.
Ganieva’s claims come as Black has come below microscope for his ties to lifeless pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Apollo in January revealed an impartial investigation exhibiting that Black had paid Epstein $158 million for tax recommendation and estate-planning providers between 2013 and 2017 — after Esptein had pleaded responsible in 2008 for procuring an underage lady for prostitution.
Black has stated he was solely responsible of poor judgment in his dealings with Epstein. He additionally referenced his “extraordinarily poor judgment” in his July countersuit towards Ganieva.
Zuckerman can be linked to Epstein, albeit pre-conviction. The duo made an unsuccessful bid to purchase New York Journal in 2003 and teamed once more a 12 months later to spend money on Radar Journal, which later turned Radar On-line.
There isn’t any indication that Zuckerman was concerned in or was aware of Epstein’s sexual crimes.
Ganieva, too, had met Epstein, based on sources with data of the state of affairs.