Billionaire Leon Black is leaving Apollo following scrutiny over ties to Jeffrey Epstein

New York (CNN Business)Leon Black is completely stepping away from running private equity firm Apollo Global Management amid scrutiny over the billionaire’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

Apollo (APO) announced Monday that Black has stepped down as CEO four months ahead of schedule and will no longer serve as the firm’s chairman.
In a statement, Black said this is the “ideal moment to step back and focus on my family, my wife Debra’s and my health issues, and by many other interests.”
    Apollo said Marc Rowan, the firm’s co-founder, has taken over as the new CEO, as expected. Jay Clayton, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Trump, has been named Apollo’s non-executive chairman.
      Black said that he plans to remain Apollo’s largest shareholder and its “strongest supporter.”
          The moves come after Apollo announced in January an internal investigation into Black’s ties to accused sex trafficker Epstein found no wrongdoing. That probe, which involved more than 60,000 documents and interviewing over 20 people, found Black’s payments to Epstein totaled $ 158 million from 2012 to 2017.
          The internal investigation followed a New York Times report that detailed Black’s ties with Epstein, including allegations that the two men “often socialized and dined together” and their business relationship involved payments for consulting and other services.
          In a letter to shareholders in October, Black expressed deep regret for his involvement with Epstein.
          “With the benefit of hindsight — and knowing everything that has come to light about Epstein’s despicable conduct more than fifteen years ago — I deeply regret having had any involvement with him,” Black stated in the letter.
            Black said his relationship only involved professional services that included “estate planning, tax and philanthropic endeavors” as well as occasional meets at Epstein’s townhouse to conduct business, as he says, Epstein didn’t have a separate office.
            Black has previously pledged $ 200 million toward initiatives that help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking as a way to “begin to address the grievous error” of having maintained a professional relationship with Epstein.

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