Over a five-year period that ended in 2017, Apollo Global Management CEO and co-founder Leon Black forked over $158 million to Jeffrey Epstein, long after Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to a prostitution charge in Florida that involved a teen girl. That revelation came out recently as part of a review by the private equity firm commissioned in the fall, following a New York Times article following Black's money trail with Epstein. Now Black is stepping down from his main role at the company, per the Times and the Wall Street Journal. "I have advised the Apollo Board that I will retire as CEO on or before my 70th birthday in July," Black said in a statement Monday, noting that he would remain the firm's chairman.
The Times notes that the independent review by the Dechert law firm, ordered by Apollo's board, found that Black's payments to Epstein allowed the latter to live his extravagant lifestyle, with Black believing Epstein was simply a "confirmed bachelor with eclectic tastes" who'd paid his price to society after serving just 13 months on the Florida charges. Dechert found that the $148 million Black paid to Epstein—nearly double what the Times originally reported—was legit, as it was for actual advice on trust- and estate-tax planning; the other $10 million was a donation to Epstein's charity. Dechert also said in its review that it discovered no evidence of Black having anything to do with Epstein's criminal activities, and that Black didn't appear to be tied to any dealings with underage girls. Another Apollo co-founder, Marc Rowan, will become CEO once Black steps down. (Read more Leon Black stories.)