Senators Ask Bank Of America For Details About Leon Black’s Payments To Jeffrey Epstein, Report Says

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The Senate Finance Committee has asked Bank of America to provide details about its handling of millions of dollars in fees made by billionaire private equity investor Leon Black to disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

According to the Times, the committee’s chair Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter to Bank of America earlier this month asking what due diligence the lender carried out before processing $158 million in payments from Black to Epstein between 2012 and 2017.

In the letter addressed to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and seen by the Times, Wyden reportedly said the committee believes Black used his accounts at the bank to make these fee payments to Epstein for purported tax and estate planning services.

The letter also sought details about potential red flags raised by Bank of America employees around the transactions, as banks are obligated to inform authorities if they spot suspicious financial activity.

Wyden also asked if the bank conducted internal reviews of art deals between Black and Epstein to determine if “Epstein was acting as a straw purchaser or seller.”

The letter notes that the committee is trying to find out if Epstein’s tax planning work, which helped Black “avoid more than $1 billion in federal taxes,” was in line with federal tax laws.

Forbes has emailed Bank of America and the Senate Finance Committee for comment—but both have turned down a similar request from the Times.

Black was the co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. In January 2021, it was revealed that Black paid Epstein $158 million in fees for his tax services, loaned him more than $30 million, and also made a $10 million donation to his charity. The firm, however, said a third-party investigation found “no evidence that Mr. Black was involved in any way with Mr. Epstein’s criminal activities at any time.” A few months later, Black stepped down as CEO and chairperson. Since then, Black has faced a series of sexual assault allegations with at least three separate cases filed against the billionaire. Black sued his accusers, claiming they were attempting to extort him and “cancel one of the world’s most prominent business leaders.”

$62.5 million. That is the amount Black has reportedly agreed to pay the U.S. Virgin Islands to exempt himself from legal claims linked to the territory’s investigation into Epstein’s activities there.

In July last year, Wyden unveiled the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation into Black’s payments to Epstein. Lawmakers said the probe had “uncovered serious tax issues and other concerns with trusts and structures Black executed to avoid over $1 billion in future gift and estate taxes.” The committee also noted that Black’s payments were “inexplicably large” and “well in excess of” what he paid other financial observers.

Lawmakers Question Bank of America About Leon Black’s Payments to Epstein (New York Times)

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