What is Leon Black's net worth? Inside Apollo CEO's mysterious alliance with Jeffrey Epstein and $158M payments

Black paid $148 million to Epstein for his financial counsel on trust and estate-tax planning and donated $10 million to his charity

                            What is Leon Black's net worth? Inside Apollo CEO's mysterious alliance with Jeffrey Epstein and $158M payments
Leon Black and Jeffrey Epstein (Apollo, Getty Images)

Leon Black, the CEO of Apollo Global Management, has decided to step down from the position following an independent review which showed that he gave huge amounts in payment to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The review, however, revealed that the payments made out to the late financier were justified and sent in lieu of Epstein’s financial advice to Black and his family.

In total, Black paid $148 million to Epstein between 2012 and 2017 for his financial counsel on trust and estate-tax planning and additionally donated $10 million to his charity. The payment occurred after Epstein was released from jail, as the founder-CEO of Apollo admits that he had decided to give Epstein a "second chance". 

The independent review, conducted by law firm Dechert, confirmed that Black only shared a professional relationship with Epstein and was not connected with his criminal activities, including sex-trafficking and abuse of underage girls.

Apollo’s Board of Directors hired Dechert for the extensive investigation to find out the truth about Black’s association with Epstein as well as clear the firm’s name. Black will step down as CEO but continue to hold the position of Chairman. Meanwhile, Marc Rowan will assume the role of CEO at Apollo from July 31, 2021. 

A demonstration in 2019 against Jeffrey Epstein (Getty Images)

What is Leon Black’s net worth?

The 69-year-old Leon Black is the son of United Brands Chief Executive Eli M Black. After studying philosophy and history at Dartmouth University, Black earned an MBA degree from Harvard University. His first job was at the investment bank Drexel Burnham and Lambert, where he rose to the rank of head of mergers and acquisitions.

In 1989, after senior advisor Michael Milken was convicted of securities fraud, the bank was led to bankruptcy. Black left the firm and started his own firm Apollo Advisors in 1990, joining hands with colleagues Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan. At present, the private equity firm Apollo Global Management manages over $400 billion in assets. 

Personally, Black’s own assets have skyrocketed 1540% since 1999, bringing his net worth to $8.8 billion as of June 2020. Black joined the Forbes 400 list in 1999, with a net worth of $500 million at the time, and he has been a part of the list ever since, stated a Forbes report.

Black has a 23% stake in Apollo, through which he has invested in a wide array of industries. He had amassed "hundreds of millions of dollars" in dividends which were paid by the company, revealed Forbes. 

What was Black’s connection with Jeffrey Epstein?

Black’s connection with Epstein started in 2012 when the late convict was providing “professional services to my family partnership and related family entities, involving tax, estate planning and philanthropic advice,” according to Black. He clarified this in an email to Apollo employees in July 2019, stating that the firm was never involved with the sex offender and his association with Epstein was personal. 

It is not clear why Black hired Epstein for his personal financial planning since he had top financial experts at his own firm. However, working for Black helped Epstein gain a substantial financial foothold post his release from prison. The duo had a fallout after a "fee dispute" in 2018 when their association ended.

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