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Guzel Ganieva, Ex-Mannequin Who Accused Epstein Pal Leon Black of Intercourse Abuse, Sues Him for Defamation

A former model who accused Leon Black of sexual abuse earlier this year is now suing the embattled billionaire for defamation, claiming he lied to the media about their relationship and falsely accused them of blackmail.

In a 29-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in the New York State Supreme Court, Guzel Ganieva, 38, accused Black, the former CEO of Apollo Global Management, of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional stress, during her six-year tenure and the gender-based violence relationship that ended in 2015 when she was allegedly forced to sign an NDA and take hush money.

“The only repeated threats for many years came from Black to Ms. Ganieva that she would feel the brunt of his real anger if she did not sign the NDA, take his hush money and go into silence forever,” the lawsuit said. “Threatening that Ms. Ganieva will be prosecuted first will not protect Black from the truth about what he has done. The truth will reveal a violent, sadistic side to Black that he has shielded from the public for decades. “

In March, Ganieva went on Twitter claiming she had been “sexually molested and abused” by Black for years. Five days later, Black surprisingly left his private equity firm prematurely in March, citing the “health problems” of his wife and his own.

The Apollo co-founder, whose career was already in turmoil after the news of his financial involvement with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, told several outlets weeks later that he had “stupidly had a friendly affair” with Ganieva a few years ago and denied any wrongdoing.

“The truth is that I have been blackmailed by Ms. Ganieva for many years and made substantial payments to her to keep my family from public embarrassment because of her threats to make our relationship public,” Black said in a Dec. April, which alleged he had asked the authorities weeks earlier to investigate Ganieva.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, a spokesman for Black denied Ganievas recent allegations, insisting that the “frivolous lawsuit is full of lies and is nothing more than fiction”.

“The truth is that Leon Black had an exclusively amicable relationship with Ms. Ganieva for six years and then, as we previously informed the criminal justice authorities, Mr. Black was subsequently extorted by Ms. Ganieva for many years and made substantial monetary payments.” their threats to expose their relationship and cause him reputational risk and damage to his family, “the spokesman said, adding that Black” looks forward to refuting the allegations in court. “

Black, who co-founded the $ 455 billion private equity firm in 1990, has been put to the test because of his long friendship and financial ties with Epstein. An internal review found that Black paid the sex offender more than $ 150 million for his financial services from 2012 to 2017 – including a transfer after Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution by a teenage girl in 2008.

However, the report found no evidence that Black Epstein was aware of or involved in the sexual abuse of girls and young women. Black has denied any wrongdoing in Epstein’s crimes, previously admitting to giving the financier a second chance after his conviction was a “terrible mistake”.

According to Ganieva’s lawsuit, the former model was first introduced to the billionaire in 2008 at an International Women’s Day event in New York City. Shortly thereafter, she agreed to have dinner with him in the hopes that he could help her “go beyond modeling,” she says.

Ganieva specifically told Black that, according to the lawsuit, she was not interested in having a sexual relationship with him. But later that year Black is said to have forced himself on her in a “studio apartment with a mattress on the floor and no other furniture”. Shortly after the alleged attack, which she never reported to the police, Black began a “cycle of intimidation, abuse and humiliation,” the lawsuit said.

After any sexual assault, Ganieva would tell the billionaire to leave her alone, and he would show “repentant and forgiving behavior,” promising to pay for her education and home, according to the lawsuit.

In 2011, Ganieva went back to school to complete her bachelor’s degree. Around the same time, the lawsuit states that Black forced Ganieva to take out a $ 480,000 loan from him despite protesting “that she could never repay.” Two years later, Black had them sign another $ 480,000 loan, the lawsuit said.

“Black knew the extent of the damage he had done to Ms. Ganieva over the years. That money was, at least in his twisted mind, a way to apologize to himself, ”the lawsuit says.

After Ganieva graduated with a degree in mathematics, Black insisted on helping her find a job and organized interviews for her at financial firms in NYC, London and Moscow, the lawsuit says. But Ganieva has never received a job offer, and the lawsuit claims his help was part of his “sick plan to make him grateful”.

Black’s abuse continued, including an incident where he raped her in her Upper East Side apartment on July 6, 2014, she claims. Following the alleged attack, Ganieva says she left New York with her son to “distance herself physically from Black,” but he kept calling. She returned to New York City in 2015, whereupon he tried to force her to take out another loan from him, or “he would make sure she ended up ‘in jail’ or he ‘destroyed her life’,” it said in the lawsuit.

On October 18, 2015, Black allegedly had her sign an NDA during a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel. Black told Ganieva that if she signs the NDA, if she signs the NDA, he has agreed to loan her, according to the lawsuit.

“[I will be paying you] as long as you keep your mouth shut, ”Black said to Ganieva according to the complaint. After the meeting, Ganieva is said to have received regular payments from an “E Truth” account by April 2021.

Over the years, Ganieva tried to get a copy of the contract, but Black refused to respond to her messages, the lawsuit said.

“Leon. You sexually molested me, sexually molested me, raped me and eventually blacklisted me. I don’t know how long it will take me on my own to process the pain [you] caused in me and my family. The last thing you can do is give me the document that I was forced to sign and that I couldn’t read before signing, ”Ganieva wrote in a text message to Black on October 16, 2019, according to screenshots in the Legal action. “Unfortunately I’m still tied to you …”

In March 2021, Ganieva went public with her claims on Twitter.

“I was bullied, manipulated, threatened and coerced. Similarly, I was forced to sign an NDA in 2015. I’m breaking my silence now because I don’t want this type of predatory behavior to continue to happen to other women, ”she wrote on the March 17th tweets.

Her lawsuit alleges that Black texted her the day after Ganieva posted it on Twitter “to call him right away.” Ganieva refused, whereupon Black “picked up the ancient game book used by rich and powerful men – it made a preventive claim to extortion,” she says.

“This case epitomizes why #MeToo exists,” Jeanne M. Christensen, one of Ganieva’s attorneys, told The Daily Beast in a statement. “Men of wealth, power, and an army of elite lawyers continue to shirk responsibility for their heinous deeds by twisting the legal system to punish victims for speaking up.”

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