Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of private equity group Apollo Global Management, made at least $50m in payments to Jeffrey Epstein after he had been convicted in 2008 of soliciting sex from a minor, two people familiar with the matter said.
At least one of the payments, which were first reported by The New York Times, was flagged as unusual by Deutsche Bank, where Epstein had accounts, one of the people said.
Mr Black has been facing questions from investors in recent years over his relationship with the late disgraced financier, who died in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial, in what was ruled as a suicide.
Epstein had pleaded guilty to state prostitution offences in 2008 and was arrested last year on federal charges of sex trafficking underage girls.
Mr Black received “personal trusts and estates planning advice as well as family office philanthropy and investment services” from Epstein between 2012 and 2017, his spokeswoman said.
“It is true that I paid Mr Epstein millions of dollars annually for his work,” Apollo’s Mr Black said on Monday in a letter to investors in response to The New York Times report.
“It also is worth noting that all of Mr Epstein’s advice was vetted by leading auditors, law firms and other professional advisors.” Mr Black’s letter said that he and his family once picnicked with Epstein on his private island and that he met Epstein at his New York townhouse “from time to time” as he did not have a separate office.
The two men stopped communicating after a “fee dispute” led Mr Black to terminate Epstein’s services in 2018, Mr Black’s spokeswoman added, and he “deeply regrets having any involvement with him”.
“There has never been an allegation by anyone, including The New York Times, that Mr Black engaged in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct,” she said.
Mr Black’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the $50m payments figure or why the private equity billionaire chose Epstein to provide the financial services that she described.
An Apollo spokeswoman said the company itself “never did any business with Jeffrey Epstein at any point in time”.
Deutsche’s reputation has been further tarnished after its past dealings with Epstein came to light. The German lender processed millions of dollars of potentially suspicious transactions — even though Epstein was a registered sex offender — including payments to alleged co-conspirators and Russian models.
In July, Deutsche apologised and agreed to pay a $150m fine for compliance failures associated with taking him on as a client in 2013, which it said it “deeply regrets” and was the result of weakne