Leon Black has decided not to countersue a former Russian model who accused him of rape, a report says

Leon Black wears a dark grey suit, white shirt, and blue tie while speaking on stage.
Leon Black, Chairman, CEO and Director, Apollo Global Management, LLC, speaks at the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills. LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters
  • Leon Black will drop a countersuit against an ex-model who accused him of rape, per the NY Post.
  • Black has denied Guzel Ganieva’s claims against him, and filed a countersuit for defamation in July.
  • A NY Post reports Black will not file this to focus on efforts to “defend and vindicate himself.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black has decided not to file a countersuit against a former Russian model who accused him of rape, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The NY Post reported that, in a court filing last week, the Wall Street billionaire’s lawyers said that he did not “intend to assert counterclaims at this time” against Guzel Ganieva, and that he only wanted to “defend and vindicate himself.”

The decision means he is withdrawing the counterclaim he filed in July, accusing Ganieva of defamation, and calling her claims a “work of fiction.”

This was in response to Ganieva’s original court filing in June, in which she claimed that Black had raped her in 2014. She also sued him for defamation for claiming she had tried to extort him by threatening to make their relationship public.

Ganieva first claimed on Twitter in March that Black had “sexually harassed and abused” her.

Black denied the claims, telling Bloomberg in April that he had “foolishly had a consensual affair with Ms. Ganieva that ended more than seven years ago,” and that “any allegation of harassment or any other inappropriate behavior towards her is completely fabricated.”

In the same interview, he claimed she had extorted him “for many years” and had paid her money to “in an attempt to spare my family from public embarrassment.”

Read more: Apollo turned to Paul Weiss over and over again. The lucrative client stoked tensions at the law firm and opened it up to criticism about the close relationship, insiders say.

Wigdor LLP, the lawyers representing Ganieva, sent Insider court filing they made in response Black’s decision to withdraw his countersuit.

In that filing, attorney Jeanne Christensen said: “Black attempts to ‘take back’ everything he publicly asserted, without being asked for any explanation because he wants to do it without having to dismiss it on the public docket.”

Black’s lawyers, Perry Guha LLP, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment Thursday.

Black’s decision to withdraw his counterclaims comes after Ganieva amended her initial lawsuit last month to include accusations that he took her to Jeffrey Epstein’s house in 2008 to engage in sex acts with the late convicted sex offender.

Danya Perry, Black’s lawyer, denied the new claims, and told Insider in an emailed statement at the time that “just like her June complaint, Ms. Ganieva’s story today is demonstrably and transparently false and betrays her willingness to say anything and fabricate a story in the hope that something will stick.”

In October 2020, Apollo commissioned law firm Dechert to investigate Black’s relationship with Epstein.

The report, published in January, found that Black paid Epstein $US158 ($AU214) million between 2012 and 2017, including for “estate planning” and “tax issues.”

In March, Black stepped down from Apollo, but told Bloomberg this was unrelated to Ganieva’s claims.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.