Who is Guzel Ganieva? Ex-model sues Jeffrey Epstein's pal Leon Black for defamation, sexual violence

Ex-model Guzel Ganieva accused ex-CEO of Apollo and Jeffrey Epstein's pal Leon Black of rape and sued him for defamation as he accused her of extortion


                            Who is Guzel Ganieva? Ex-model sues Jeffrey Epstein's pal Leon Black for defamation, sexual violence
Jeffrey Epstein's associate Leon Black is being sued by a former model (Patrick T Fallon/Getty Images)

Leon Black, the Wall Street billionaire who stood by convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein long after others abandoned him, has been accused of being a "violent, sadistic" sexual predator who allegedly raped and tormented a former model before forcing her to sign an NDA, a report by DailyMail said. The former model, Guzel Ganieva, is now suing Black for defamation, alleging he falsely accused her of extortion.

The CEO of Apollo Global Management stepped down from the position in January this year following an independent review which showed that he gave huge amounts of money in payment to Epstein. Black even attended a party with Epstein after the sex offender was in custody on charges of sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York.

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The recent charges which surfaced on Tuesday, June 1, in a defamation lawsuit were filed by Ganieva against the ex-Apollo CEO, who remains one of New York City's most powerful executives.



 

Who is Guzel Ganieva?

Ganieva, 38, accused Black of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gender-motivated violence throughout their six-year relationship, which ended in 2015 when she was allegedly forced to sign an NDA and accept hush money. This was revealed in a 29-page lawsuit filed on June 1 in New York State Supreme Court.

“The only repeated threats for many years came from Black to Ms Ganieva that if she did not sign the NDA, take his hush money and retreat into silence forever, she would feel the brunt of his true wrath,” the lawsuit reads. “Threatening that a criminal charge will be brought against Ms Ganieva first will not save Black from the truth about what he has done. The truth will reveal a violent, sadistic side to Black that he has shielded from public view for decades.”

A protest group called 'Hot Mess' hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8, 2019, in New York City (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

'Cycle of intimidation, abuse and humiliation'

According to Ganieva's lawsuit, the former model met the millionaire for the first time at a New York City International Women's Day event in 2008. She agreed to attend dinner with him soon after, expecting that he could help her “move beyond modeling”, as she puts it. She told Black she wasn't interested in a sexual relationship with him. But later that year, in a “studio flat with a mattress on the floor and no other furniture,” Black allegedly forced himself on her. Thereafter began a "cycle of intimidation, abuse, and humiliation" over the next few years after the alleged assault, which she never reported to the police.

According to the lawsuit, Ganieva would tell the billionaire to leave her alone after each sexual attack, and he would demonstrate "remorseful and conciliatory behavior", pledging to pay for her school and housing. In 2011, Ganieva went back to school to finish her undergraduate degree in mathematics, during which time Black pushed her to take a $480,000 loan from him. He forced her to sign another $480,000 loan two years later. This was all despite Ganieva telling him she cannot pay him back.

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, speaks to the media at a press conference to announce the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and accused accomplice of deceased accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein on July 2, 2020, in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

'Now I have f****d you'

Black then insisted on helping her get a job and grow her career. But the model never received a job offer, and said in the lawsuit that it was Black's “sick plan to make her feel grateful to him”. It added that the abuse continued and Black allegedly raped her inside her Upper East Side apartment on July 6, 2014. After he had finished, Black stated, "Now I have f****d you," before walking out leaving Ganieva naked and unable to move, the lawsuit read.

Even after she left New York with her son to "physically distance" herself from Black, he kept calling. When she returned in 2015, he forced her to take a loan again, or “he would make sure she ended up ‘in prison’ or he would ‘destroy her life,’” the lawsuit states. Black allegedly made her sign an NDA during a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 18, 2015, and reportedly “agreed” to forgive her loans if she signed the NDA. “(I will be paying you) as long as you keep your mouth shut,” he told Ganieva, according to the lawsuit.



 

Ganieva took to Twitter in March, stating that Black had "sexually harassed and abused" her for years. "Although I am a private person, in light of the recent media coverage, I think I have an obligation to make a statement regarding Apollo Global Management’s CEO and Chairman, Leon Black. I was sexually harassed and abused by him for years," she began in a string of posts. Five days later, in March, Black abruptly left his private equity firm, on grounds of his wife's and his own "health issues".

The Apollo cofounder, whose career had already been thrown into disarray following the revelation of his financial entanglements with pedophile Epstein, subsequently told various outlets weeks later that he “foolishly had a consensual affair” with Ganieva several years ago and denied any wrongdoing. As per the recent allegations, a spokesperson for Black said the “frivolous lawsuit is riddled with lies and is nothing more than a wholesale fiction”.

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