Apollo Global Management and founder Leon Black have deployed a variety of excuses and explanations for his maintaining and indeed strengthening his relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein even after said conviction, albeit before the true extent of his horrors became the subject of a second indictment: Apollo had nothing to do with Epstein. Black’s relationship with the sex offender was purely a professional services one. His visit to Epstein’s private sex-trafficking island was simply for a picnic with his family and definitely not for any of the things most people traveled there for. If only he had known all of the gross stuff Epstein was up to, and not just some of it, he’d never have kept up the tit-for-tat charitable donations and the rest of it.
Yesterday, Black had to do some more explaining on Apollo’s quarterly earnings call. Even though those earnings were quite bad, no one cared but to hear the private equity legend explain what the hell he was thinking. And, essentially, Black’s answer was, “everyone was doing it.”
Mr. Black, who co-founded Apollo in 1990, said Thursday he met Epstein around 1996 when Epstein was advising a number of prominent clients on estate-tax planning. The adviser had been named a trustee of Rockefeller University and served on the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.
In his network were “luminaries I respected and admired, including several heads of state, heads of prominent families in finance, a U.S. treasury secretary, accomplished business leaders, Nobel laureates, acclaimed academicians and noted philanthropists,” Mr. Black said….
After his release, Epstein went back to his financial-advisory work and once again began associating with prominent people from finance, academia, science, technology and government, Mr. Black said…. “Like many other people I respected, I decided to give Epstein a second chance,” he said Thursday. “This was a terrible mistake. I wish I could go back in time and change that decision, but I cannot.”