Billionaire investor Leon Black agreed to pay the US Virgin Islands $62.5 million in January to be released from any potential claims arising from the territory’s three-year investigation into the sex trafficking operation of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to a copy of the settlement agreement.
The previously undisclosed settlement came after the Virgin Islands reached a $105 million deal in November with Epstein’s estate. The following month, the district sued JPMorgan Chase in federal court over its 15-year relationship with Mr. Epstein, a registered sex offender who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019.
The Virgin Islands government issued the settlement agreement with Mr. Black in response to a public records request by The New York Times. In January, representatives of both parties held a private mediation session to settle the claims, according to another document reviewed by the Times. The settlement of $62.5 million came after that hearing.
The settlement shows the lengths to which Mr. Black, once a giant in the private equity industry, has gone to limit scrutiny of his decades-long social and business relationships with Mr. Epstein. Those dealings, including revelations that he had paid Mr. Epstein $158 million for tax and estate planning services, became an embarrassment to Mr. Black in the years following Epstein’s death.
Mr. Black, 71, was forced to step down in early 2021 as chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, the private equity giant he co-founded. in 1990. Black, a major art collector who made news with his $120 million purchase of a copy of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” has resigned from his position as president of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
The settlement said nothing in it that should be construed as an “acknowledgment of responsibility” by Mr. Black.
“Over the past several years, the Virgin Islands Department of Justice has made it a priority to support victims of human trafficking and law enforcement to prevent and deter human trafficking,” said Venetia H. Velazquez, an attorney with the Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office, who negotiated the settlement.
Brad Karp, a lawyer for Mr Black, was not immediately available for comment.
Jessica Silver Greenberg And Maureen Farrell Contribute to this report.