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Leon Black Agreed to Pay $62.5 Million to Settle Epstein-Related Claims

The billionaire investor Leon Black agreed to pay $62.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands in January to be released from any potential claims arising out of the territory’s three-year investigation into the sex trafficking operation of the 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 Mr. Epstein’s estate. The next month, the territory sued JPMorgan Chase in federal court over its 15-year relationship with Mr. Epstein, a registered sex offender who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019.

The Virgin Islands government produced its settlement agreement with Mr. Black in response to a public records request by The New York Times. In January, representatives for the two parties held a private mediation session to settle claims, according to another document reviewed by The Times. The $62.5 million settlement followed that session.

The settlement shows the extent to which Mr. Black, once a titan of the private equity industry, has gone to limit scrutiny of his decades-long social and business ties to Mr. Epstein. Those dealings, including the revelation that he paid $158 million to Mr. Epstein for tax and estate planning services, had become a source of embarrassment for Mr. Black in the years after Mr. Epstein’s death.

Mr. Black, 71, was forced to step down in early 2021 as chairman and chief executive of Apollo Global Management, the giant private equity firm he co-founded in 1990. A major art collector who made news for his $120 million purchase of a version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Mr. Black also stepped down as chairman of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The settlement said nothing in it should be construed as an “admission of liability” by Mr. Black.

Venetia H. Velazquez, a lawyer with the Virgin Islands attorney general’s office, which negotiated the settlement, said, “For the past several years, the Virgin Islands Department of Justice has made it a priority to support human trafficking victims and to enforce the law to prevent and deter human trafficking.”

Brad Karp, a lawyer for Mr. Black, was not immediately available for comment.

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Maureen Farrell contributed to this report.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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