In late 2020, the co-founder of one of the largest and most powerful private equity firms in the world, Apollo Global Management, sent a letter to the firm’s limited partners, addressing revelations that he had paid tens of millions to the now-deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Apollo co-founder, Leon Black, stated that he was “appalled by” and “completely unaware of” the conduct of Epstein, and he denied that he himself was connected to any of it.
“There has never been an allegation by anyone…that I engaged in any wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct,” he said.
That is certainly no longer the case.
On Monday, a woman filed a lawsuit against Leon Black and the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, alleging that Black had violently raped her in 2002 on a massage table in a room on the third floor of Epstein’s Upper East Side home. The woman, Cheri Pierson, alleges that Ghislaine Maxwell had introduced her to Epstein when she was behind on her credit card bills and desperate for cash. The complaint goes into disturbing detail regarding the alleged rape, which can be read in full here.
The lawsuit also alleges that Epstein had introduced Black to several women, including “at least several of whom had been with Epstein for years while underage.”
“There is no question that Black’s criminal conduct was facilitated and fostered by Epstein and individuals that worked for Epstein,” the complaint reads. “It is unknown how many times before or after the rape of Ms. Pierson or whether Black had met women at Epstein’s townhouse for prearranged ‘massages.’”
Black’s attorney, Susan Estrich, said in a statement that the allegations are “categorically false” and that they are “part of a scheme to extort money from Mr. Black by threatening to destroy his reputation.” In an email to Fortune, Estrich included a letter she had sent to Pierson’s law firm in advance of the new lawsuit, which stated that “Mr. Black never sexually assaulted anyone anywhere at any time, much less at Mr. Epstein’s townhouse.”
“Apollo is not a party to the suit. Apollo has no comment,” said a spokesman at Gladstone Place Partners, the public relations firm that Apollo has hired to handle all matters related to Black.
Some of these allegations had first been brought up in a separate, ongoing lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York between Black and his ex-mistress, the former Russian model Guzel Ganieva, who sued Black for rape and sexual assault in 2021 and is represented by the same law firm as Pierson. Last year, court documents in that suit alleged that another woman, then referred to as “Jane Doe,” had been violently raped by Black in Epstein’s townhouse, but the woman hadn’t revealed her identity until now.
These new allegations against Black serve as a dark and disturbing reminder of the extent of Epstein’s connections to the rich and powerful. England’s Prince Andrew, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former President Donald Trump, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, for example, have all been tied to the late sex offender in some capacity. Epstein died in prison in 2019 after being arrested over sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of conspiring to sexually abuse minors, is appealing a 20-year prison sentence.
Black has attempted to distance himself from Epstein since late 2018 when the Miami Herald renewed attention around the Epstein case and the non-prosecution agreement a federal judge would later deem illegal. Still, mounting evidence from lawsuit documents and investigations suggests there may have been a close connection between Black and Epstein.
An investigation commissioned by Apollo’s board in 2020 revealed that Black had paid Epstein $158 million in fees, payments made after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a teenage girl (Black claimed that the payments were for things such as “tax advice” or “estate planning”). The Pierson lawsuit also alleges that Epstein served as one of the only executives for Black’s family office between 1997 and 2012—allegedly the only executive besides Black himself and his wife. The simultaneous Ganieva lawsuit has alleged that Black described Epstein as his “best friend.”
The ongoing claims against Black have ostracized him from his former firm and other positions. Black left Apollo in early 2021, and he agreed not to run for re-election for his chairman seat on the board of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
See you tomorrow,
Submit a deal for the Term Sheet newsletter here.
Update, Nov. 30, 2022: The online version of this newsletter has been updated to reflect a statement via email from Leon Black’s attorney to Fortune that was not seen prior to publication.
Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
- Cajal Neuroscience, a Seattle-based neurodegenerative disease drug discovery company, raised $96 million in Series A funding. The Column Group and Lux Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Evotec, Alexandria Venture Investments, Dolby Family Ventures, and others.
- Joy, a San Francisco-based wedding planning and registry platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst.
- Deepgram, an Ann Arbor, Mich. and San Francisco-based A.I. speech platform, raised $47 million in Series B funding. Madrona led the round and was joined by Alkeon and others.
- Greenwood, an Atlanta-based digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and businesses, raised $45 million in funding. Pendulum led the round and was joined by investors including Cercano Management, Cohen Circle, The George Kaiser Family Foundation, NextEra Energy, Bank of America, Citi Ventures, PNC, Popular, Truist Ventures, TTV Capital, and Wells Fargo.
- Saltbox, an Atlanta-based co-warehousing and small business logistics company, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Cox Enterprises and Pendulum co-led the round and were joined by investors including Playground Global, XYZ Capital, Fundrise, Kapor Capital, Wilshire Lane Capital, Colliers, Lincoln Property Company, Flexport, Overline, and others.
- OneRail, an Orlando, Fla.-based transportation visibility solution, raised $33 million in Series B funding. Piva Capital and Arsenal Growth Equity co-led the round and were joined by investors including American Tire Distributors, Trimble Ventures, Ironspring Ventures, Las Olas Venture Capital, Bullpen Capital, Triphammer Ventures/Alumni Ventures Group, Gaingels, and Mana Ventures.
- Medical Informatics, a Houston-based virtual care and analytics provider, raised $17 million in Series B funding. Catalio Capital Management and Intel Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including TGH Innoventures, Notley, DCVC, TMC, and nCourage.
- FrankieOne, a Melbourne, Australia-based API platform for identity verification and fraud detection, raised an additional$15.55 million in Series A+ funding. Greycroft and AirTree Ventures co-led the round and were joined by investors including Reinventure, Tidal Ventures, Apex Capital Partners, Binance Labs, and Kraken Ventures.
- Roboto Games, a San Mateo, Calif.-based game development studio, raised $15 million in Series A funding. a16z led the round and was joined by Animoca Brands and others.
- Clerk, a San Francisco-based authentication and user management solution for React, raised $6.2 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including S28 Capital, Fathom Capital, and South Park Commons.
- RailVision Analytics, a Montfort, Canada-based train efficiency company, raised $4 million in seed funding. Trucks Venture Capital led the round and was joined by investors including MUUS Climate Partners, Blackhorn Ventures, Incite.org, Measured Ventures, Active Impact Investments, and Neil Murdoch.
- Burn Ghost, a Boston-based Web3 game platform, raised $3.1 million in funding. BITKRAFT Ventures and Drive by DraftKings co-led the round and were joined by Pillar VC.
- Upollo, a Sydney, Australia-based customer conversion company, raised $2.75 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures.
- Saasguru, a Sydney, Australia-based cloud skills and workforce development edtech platform, raised AUD $4 million ($2.68 million) in seed funding led by Square Peg Capital.
- Cactos, a Helsinki, Finland-based smart energy storage systems producer, raised €1 million ($1.04 million) in funding led by Superhero Capital.
- Amulet Capital Partners acquired United Vein & Vascular Centers, a Tampa, Fla.-based vascular care treatment services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- SMA Technologies, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, acquired VisualCron, a Sollentuna, Sweden-based automation, integration, and task scheduling tool for Windows. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- The Riverside Company acquired Canuti Tradizione Italiana, a Rimini, Italy-based frozen pasta producer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Bestpass acquired ExpressTruckTax, a Rock Hill, S.C.-based tax e-filing system for truckers, fleet owners, and tax preparers, from SPAN Enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- CrossTower agreed to acquire BEQUANT, a St. Julian’s, Malta-based prime brokerage and digital asset exchange. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Enable acquired the rebate deal management arm of Profectus Group, a Melbourne, Australia-based compliance and recovery solutions services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- RegScale acquired GovReady, a Washington D.C.-based open-source compliance-as-code platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Zetwerk Manufacturing acquired Unimacts, a Lexington, Mass.-based manufacturing services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Sunshine Insurance, a Beijing, China-based insurance company, plans to raise up to $948 million through the sale of 1.15 billion shares priced between HK$5.83 ($.75) and HK$6.45 ($.83) in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg.
- Apollo Global Management, a New York-based alternative asset manager, hired Shawn T. Wooden as partner and chief public pension strategist. He will retire as State Treasurer of Connecticut in January 2023.
This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.