Billionaire investor Leon Black knew about Jeffrey Epstein‘s 2007 child prostitution conviction when he started doing business with him, but thought the pedophile deserved a ‘second chance’, documents have revealed.
Black stepped down from Apollo Global Management on Monday after an internal investigation revealed he had sanctioned $158million in payments to Epstein from the firm between 2012 and 2017 for his financial expertise.
The investigation was ordered in October last year but it’s unclear what prompted it. The report from that investigation was released on Thursday along with the announcement that Black was stepping down
It reveals that Black estimated that Epstein made the firm between $1billion and $2billion after advising on ‘a variety of topics related to trust and estate planning, tax issues, philanthropic endeavors, and the operation of the family office.’
It also gives more details of the pair’s friendship, and how Black wanted to give Epstein a ‘second chance’ in 2010 after he emerged from prison in Florida where he’d been convicted of soliciting a child prostitute.
Jeffrey Epstein with Pepe Fanjul (middle) and Leon Black (right) in 2005. Black paid Epstein $158million between 2012 and 2017
The pair first met in the 1990s, the report says, but Black didn’t hire him until 2012.
‘Black and others at Apollo and the Family Office were aware that Epstein had been convicted in 2008 for the charges of solicitation of prostitution and procuring a person under 18 for prostitution….
‘When Black first retained Epstein, he believed that Epstein had served his time for the originally charged offenses and believed that it was not inappropriate to give Epstein a second chance, as many other prominent figures in business, science, politics and academia had done,’ the report reads.
The report states Leon and his wife Debra flew to Epstein’s homes around the word and sometimes took their kids
It states that Black was under the impression Epstein had only solicited one girl and that he thought she was 18 when she was in fact 17.
Black also compared Epstein to Martha Stewart and Michael Milken and said he believed in ‘rehabilitation’.
‘Black describes himself as someone who believes in rehabilitation, and in giving people second chances. Based on this belief, he has maintained relationships with other notable figures in the business world, such as Michael Milken and Martha Stewart, who have spent time in prison,’ the report reads.
The report states that had he known more about Epstein’s crimes, he would not have given him any position.
Milken and Stewart served time for white collar crimes like insider trading, racketeering and securities fraud.
Epstein and Black, the report says, first met in the 1990s but Black didn’t hire Epstein at Apollo until 2012, the report claims.
They were such good friends that Black and his wife traveled to Epstein’s homes in Paris and New Mexico, and also let him mingle with their children.
According to the report, Black thought of Epstein as a ‘confirmed bachelor with eclectic tastes’.
He also thought he was ‘an intelligent person’ who had impressive contacts.
‘Initially, Black viewed Epstein as someone who was very intelligent and knowledgeable regarding issues relating to estate planning and taxation…’ part of the report reads.
Black compared Epstein being allowed to re-enter the celebrity world to Michael Milken and Martha Stewart, who both served time for non-violent, white collar crimes
Epstein, however, was a ‘caustic and disruptive’ force in the company. The report says ‘not all of Epstein’s advice was useful’ but that he made the firm between $1billion and $2billion.
It goes on to describe Black’s social relationship with Epstein which deteriorated in 2017 over a dispute surrounding money Epstein said he was owed.
Before then, Black took his wife and kids along to socialize with Epstein.
‘Black and his wife briefly visited Epstein at his residence in Paris for drinks on a single occasion.
‘Black and his wife also visited Epstein at his property in Santa Fe on a single occasion, while Black and his wife were on their way to California on Black’s personal airplane.
‘Black also briefly visited Epstein in Florida on one or two occasions.
‘Black recalls visiting Epstein’s island in the Caribbean on two occasions and was accompanied by his wife and one or more of his children on both….’
‘Black only recalls flying on Epstein’s private airplane on a single occasion, when he and one or more of his children went to meet with professors at academic institutions in the Boston area,’ the report reads.
It’s unclear whether or not Black will retain his position as Chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Black never lied about his relationship with Epstein, according to the report.
Others at Apollo found him unprofessional and rude.
‘Epstein was often quick to criticize Family Office employees and had a habit of overdramatizing even minor perceived errors.
‘At the same time, Epstein would seek to take credit for good ideas, regardless of his level of involvement, which likely was intended to bolster his perceived value to Black.
‘As a result of these actions, some witnesses described a toxic and destructive work environment under Epstein,’ the report reads.
It’s unclear whether or not he will retain his position as Chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The museum did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries on Tuesday.