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Billionaire investor Leon Black has sued his model ex-girlfriend who accused him of rape, claiming he has “irrefutable documentary evidence” that she defamed him — and not the other way around.
In a stunning counterclaim filed in Manhattan state court on Monday, the former head of Apollo Global Management claims Russian model Guzel Ganieva lied about being subjected to a “sadistic,” “sexually violent” relationship that resulted in Black paying her big bucks to keep it quite.
Instead, Black says Ganieva pursued him in an on-again off-again relationship that went off the rails in 2015 when she demanded $100 million to keep quiet about the affair.
“In short, Mr. Black is guilty only of extremely poor judgment in entering into an affair with Ganieva in the first instance, in making an easy target of himself throughout their relationship by lavishing her with gifts and money, and in allowing himself to be extorted rather than immediately reporting Ganieva to law enforcement,” the shocking new lawsuit claims.
Black on Monday sought to cast doubt on Ganieva’s rape claims by introducing text messages she sent him, including on July 6 when she claims he raped her while returning from a July Fourth vacation in the Hamptons.
“While [Ganieva’s] complaint alleges that Mr. Black ‘suddenly’ ‘barged’ into her apartment when she was too sick to walk or move, Ganieva’s own text messages show that she was perfectly well when she initiated contact with Mr. Black that day,” the lawsuit says of the alleged July 6 rape.
According to Black, Ganieva invited him to her apartment, saying: ‘[t]his is love. I need you…’—and requested that he bring a bottle of wine to her home that evening.”
The next day, Ganieva allegedly followed up with a text saying “[i]t was very nice to see you last night” and “I love you and thank you!!!! Xoxoxoxoxo and more love.”
Two days later, Ganieva, “again unprompted, asked her supposed brutal rapist if he wanted to get together soon, signing the message: ‘Lots of love, g.’,” according to Black’s complaint.
Ganieva, through her lawyer, denied Black’s allegations.
“Right out of the defense playbook, Black’s counter-claims are an obvious effort at intimidating Ms. Ganieva who will continue to aggressively litigate her claims and hold Black accountable for his heinous conduct,” said lawyer Jeanne Christensen of Wigdor LLP.
It’s unusual for a billionaire titan of industry like Black, the former chairman of the Museum of Modern Art, to open the door to his private life by filing a lawsuit addressing rape allegations.
As The Post reported in April, Ganieva first burst into public view in March, when she posted a series of Twitter messages claiming to have been “forced to sign an NDA in 2015” relating to allegations that Black “sexually harassed and abused” her.
About a week later, Black abruptly resigned as CEO and chair of Apollo. He had already been scheduled to step down as CEO this summer amid growing questions about his ties to dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Sources told The Post that Black resigned after several Apollo directors got their hands on Ganieva’s tweets. Black has denied that his resignation had anything to do with the allegations by Ganieva, who he claimed had been trying to extort him over their “consensual” affair.
Ganieva sued Black a few months later, in June, alleging defamation and detailing multiple rape allegations.
In his Monday countersuit, Black says his relationship with Ganieva ended in 2014 when she finished college.
Black claims that during their six years together, “Ganieva consistently professed her love and appreciation for Mr. Black.” He, in turn, lavished her with “millions of dollars” in gifts, including “an expensive rental apartment on the Upper East Side … a luxury car; lavish vacations (including at the beach and to the Alps); school tuition (for acting and at Columbia University); jewelry and clothing; a Steinway piano; a $40,000 commissioned portrait of herself (which she kept hung in her apartment); and many, many gifts of cash—all totaling in the millions of dollars.”
A year after the relationship ended in 2015, Ganieva allegedly demanded $100 million, threatening to “ruin his family, his business, and his life” by going public about the affair, his lawsuit says.
That’s when Black started recording Ganieva, according to the lawsuit. She alleged in some recorded conversations that Black had been “abusive” to her, the lawsuit admits, but claims she never once mentioned sexual assault.
After months of negotiations, including in-person meetings, Black agreed to fork over $21 million in hush money. Black agreed to pay Ganieva $100,000 a month for 15 years; to forgive $1 million in loans he had given her and to give her 2 million GBD to establish her legal residency in the United Kingdom.
In exchange, Ganieva agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement admitting that claims she had made about him, “including about he had been ‘abusive’ to her,” were fabricated, the lawsuit said.
The final agreement was signed over lunch.
“Ganieva was elated. After the papers were signed, she spent approximately 45 minutes finishing her lunch, sharing a Grand Marnier soufflé with Mr. Black, discussing her investment and travel plans, and laughing about the fact that she was ‘a woman of means now,’” the suit alleges.
Shortly after their meeting, she texted him: “Thank you for everything. Talk soon xoxo,” the suit alleges.
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