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Apollo CEO Leon Black is one of many business figures with ties to Jeffrey Epstein

Max Zahn
·Reporter
·4-min read

Billionaire financier Leon Black, co-founder of private equity giant Apollo Global Management, announced on Monday that he will step down as CEO of the firm after a company review unearthed more than $150 million in payments to now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Black provided support for Epstein’s lavish lifestyle over a five-year period that ended in 2017 — long after Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to a prostitution charge involving a teenage girl, the review found, according to The New York Times. That report noted that Black — who will step down by the end of July — viewed Epstein as a “confirmed bachelor with eclectic tastes.”

In August 2019, Epstein committed suicide while in federal custody in New York City. He faced charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy tied to allegations that he had sexually abused dozens of minor girls.

Black is hardly the only major business figure who knew Epstein. That group includes some of the private sector’s most prominent figures, among them former President Donald Trump and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Here’s a list of some of the high-profile business people with ties to Epstein:

From left, American real estate developer Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
From left, Donald Trump and his girlfriend (and future wife), former model Melania Knauss, financier (and future convicted sex offender) Jeffrey Epstein, and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

Donald Trump

The friendship between Trump and Epstein began in the 1980s and lasted nearly two decades, over which they partied multiple times at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida and at Epstein’s mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the Washington Post reported.

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

The two had a falling out in 2004 over a Florida property dispute, the Washington Post found. After sex trafficking allegations were brought against Epstein, in 2019, Trump said he was “not a fan.” But Trump offered sympathy for Ghislaine Maxwell last July, soon after the longtime companion of Epstein was arrested for multiple charges related to Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking.

“I just wish her well, frankly,” Trump said.

Bill Gates

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates met with Epstein on numerous occasions beginning in 2011 — years after Epstein was convicted of a sex crime, The New York Times reported. Gates visited Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse at least three times, one of which lasted well into the night, the Times found.

“His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” Gates emailed coworkers in 2011, referring to Epstein, according to The Times. A spokeswoman for Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, told the Times that Gates had only been referring “to the unique décor of the Epstein residence — and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.”

Epstein discussed plans with JPMorgan Chase and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about a potential multibillion-dollar fund, the Times reported, adding that employees of the Gates Foundation visited Epstein’s mansion on multiple occasions. The fund never came to be.

“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” Arnold told the Times.

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 file photo, Barclays CEO Jes Staley participates in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit at Union West on  in New York. Britain’s financial watchdog is investigating whether Barclays chief executive Jes Staley disclosed full details of his relationship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the bank said Thursday Feb. 13, 2020. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
In this Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 file photo, Barclays CEO Jes Staley participates in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit at Union West on in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

James Staley

The friendship between Barclays CEO James Staley and Epstein goes back to at least 1999, when Staley was in charge of private banking at JPMorgan, the New York Times reported. Epstein, a client of the bank, reportedly developed a relationship with Staley and helped bring JPMorgan other wealthy clients.

Staley visited Epstein around 2010 in Florida while Epstein was serving time for the prostitution charge involving a minor, the Times found.

Last February, British banking authorities opened an investigation into Staley’s ties with Epstein.

Soon afterward, Staley told reporters the relationship “tapered off quite significantly” after he left JPMorgan and that he “deeply regrets” his ties to Epstein.

Leslie Wexner

Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of the L Brands retail conglomerate that includes Victoria’s Secret, hired Epstein as a money manager in the 1980s, according to The New York Times.

The exact details of Epstein’s role remain murky but appear to have extended beyond money management, including assistance with designing Wexner’s 316-foot yacht and leadership positions in his philanthropic foundations, The New York Times reported.

In a letter sent to L Brands employees in July 2019, Wexner said he was “NEVER aware of the illegal activity charged in the indictment,” the Times found.

** ADVANCE HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL 12:01 a.m. EST TUESDAY MARCH 2, 2010 ** FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2009, file photo publisher Mort Zuckerman leaves a memorial ceremony for Walter Cronkite in New York. Five times since last summer, President Obama has invited a small group of corporate CEOs in for a private lunch at the White House. The New York Daily News owner was part of the lunch group in January, just days after he'd released a column that said the president had "done everything wrong" in his first year and proclaimed the administration "politically corrupt."  (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
In this Sept. 9, 2009, file photo publisher Mort Zuckerman leaves a memorial ceremony for Walter Cronkite in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)

Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman, billionaire media mogul and former owner of the “New York Daily News,” partnered with Epstein as an investor of millions in a pop culture magazine called “Radar” in 2004.

Max Zahn is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Find him on twitter @MaxZahn_.

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