Leon Black drags Mort Zuckerman into Guzel Ganieva case

Leon Black could also be gearing as much as drag a few of his fellow billionaires into his messy authorized battle with a girl who has accused him of rape — together with Mort Zuckerman, the actual property developer behind US News & World Report, The Post has realized.

Russian mannequin Guzel Ganieva has publicly accused Black, the disgraced former head of Apollo Global Management, of paying her to signal a confidentially settlement in 2015 tied to her sexual assault and abuse allegations towards him. Black has countered that she signed the NDA in alternate for $21 million to maintain quiet about their six-year lengthy consensual affair.

In looking for to show that he was the sufferer, Black on Monday filed a 52-page countersuit towards Ganieva that factors to recordings he claims he racked up of Ganieva’s generally “paranoid” explanations for why she ought to be paid to quietly stroll away from the affair.

Ganieva allegedly advised Black that “several billionaires, whom she named, were threatening her and might be involved in a ‘conspiracy’ against her,” Black’s lawsuit says.
©Patrick McMullan

The swimsuit alleges one recording had Ganieva complaining “several billionaires” have been “threatening her” and “might be involved in a ‘conspiracy’ against her,” together with a reference that The Post has confirmed is to Zuckerman, the actual property developer who purchased the US News & World Report in 1984.

“Ganieva also claimed that one of those billionaires, who had given her a job as a writer for his publication, was ‘making fun’ of her and also had threatened to fire her unless she slept with him,” in line with Black’s Manhattan state courtroom lawsuit.

A supply near the state of affairs stated the billionaire writer referenced is Zuckerman, who’s now in failing well being however nonetheless owns the journal even after promoting the New York Daily News in 2017.

Ganieva’s byline is certainly hooked up to 2 articles for US News & World Report in 2014, together with a May story on Obamacare titled “Obamacare Enrollees, By the Numbers,” and an April story on local weather change, titled “Top 10 Reasons to Worry About Climate Change.” No different information articles have been uncovered beneath Ganieva’s byline for that or another publication.

Eric Gertler, a Zuckerman relative who speaks for him, referred inquiries to US News & World Report spokeswoman Maria Santucci. Santucci declined to touch upon the swimsuit or associated questions, resembling whether or not Ganieva ever filed sexual harassment claims towards Zuckerman.

Some legal professionals speculated that Black is sending a sign to highly effective buddies who might have had ties to Ganieva — welcome or not — that they higher assist shut her up or they might all endure.

The reference “is to let others know that they are going to get dragged into this and they may want to put pressure on her to drop the case,” opined Stephen Bourtin of the Boyd Law Group, which has labored for each sexual harassment victims and defendants.

“As long as they are doing it this way, it is not witness tampering,” Bourtin stated. “They didn’t name him, although they came close.”

A spokesperson declined remark relating to Mort Zuckerman.

Another lawyer, who requested to not be recognized, stated the previous Apollo head can also be looking for to suss out whether or not Ganieva had signed NDAs with anybody else.

“Maybe, he wants to show she shook everyone down,” stated the lawyer, who is just not concerned within the case. “Why did he finger Mort unless the defense will be that she is a grifter shakedown artist extraordinaire,” he speculated.

Reps for each Black and Ganieva declined remark.

Ganieva sued Black for defamation in June after he denied her sexual assault claims to The Post in April by saying she was making an attempt to extort him.

Ganieva’s claims come as Black has come beneath microscope for his ties to lifeless pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Apollo in January revealed an unbiased investigation displaying that Black had paid Epstein $158 million for tax recommendation and estate-planning providers between 2013 and 2017 — after Esptein had pleaded responsible in 2008 for procuring an underage lady for prostitution.

Black has stated he was solely responsible of poor judgment in his dealings with Epstein. He additionally referenced his “extremely poor judgment” in his July countersuit towards Ganieva.

Zuckerman can be linked to Epstein, albeit pre-conviction. The duo made an unsuccessful bid to purchase New York Magazine in 2003 and teamed once more a year later to spend money on Radar Magazine, which later turned Radar Online.

There isn’t any indication that Zuckerman was concerned in or was conscious of Epstein’s sexual crimes.

Ganieva, too, had met Epstein, in line with sources with data of the state of affairs.

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