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Little Saint James in the Virgin Islands.
Little Saint James in the Virgin Islands.

MoMA Chair to be Subpoenaed in Connection with Epstein Case

Leon Black, chair of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and a man worth $8.3 billion, is to be subpoenaed by the Virgin Islands as the territory’s attorney general, Denise George, attempts to discover the sources of Jeffrey Epstein’s vast wealth. Epstein, who was jailed on charges of trafficking minors, some as young as 11, died by suicide in prison in August 2019.

A noted art collector, Black is also a cofounder and the CEO of private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Unlike other large donors, Black did not sever ties with Epstein when the latter was arrested in 2008 and charged with soliciting prostitution from a minor, of which he was convicted. Instead, according to the New York Times, “in 2015, a company tied to the Black foundation donated $10 million to one of Mr. Epstein's charitable organizations. And at Epstein’s urging, Mr. Black gave an anonymous $5 million donation to the MIT Media Lab.”

George in January 2020 filed a suit against Epstein’s estate accusing Epstein of trafficking girls and young women to Little Saint James, his private island in the Virgin Islands, as recently as 2018. The following month, lawyers for Epstein’s estate claimed that George was tying up money owed the pedophile’s victims in compensation.

“Victims who have not yet come forward or who may not wish to use the fund must be supported and protected, with funds for counseling and for their claims, too,” responded George. “Pursuant to my responsibility to the laws of the Virgin Islands, there must be full accountability, not only of the estate, but those who participated in, facilitated, and covered up Epstein’s crimes.”

Expected to be subpoenaed are Apollo, Black Family Partners, Elysium Management, and various organizations that help manage Black’s expansive art holdings. To date, Black has contended that his connection to Epstein is limited to Epstein advising him regarding tax strategy, estate planning, and philanthropy.

Artforum has reached out to Black for comment.

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