The businesswoman Elisabeth Holmes, who is being tried for fraud in relation to her now defunct health technology company Theranos , in the framework of the trial has denounced mistreatment by her ex-boyfriend Ramesh Balwani, also accused in the same process.
According to court documents filed during the trial and cited by CNBC, the 37-year-old’s lawyers spoke of “a decade-long campaign of psychological abuse.”
In particular, the indictment states that “Balwani’s control included monitoring his [Holmes] calls, text messages and emails; physical violence such as throwing hard and sharp objects at him, restricting his sleep, monitoring his movements; and insisting that any success he achieved was due to him. “
Holmes’s attorneys promised to present evidence to the judge that Balwani “verbally belittled her and ‘withdrew her affection if she contested’; he controlled what she ate, how she dressed and how much money she could spend, who she could interact with, essentially dominating her and eliminating their ability to make decisions. ” The lawyers argued that as a result, the woman suffers from various mental problems, such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.
For his part, the ex-boyfriend’s legal defender, Jefferey Coopersmith, called the accusations “deeply offensive to Mr. Balwani, personally devastating for him.”
The ‘Steve Jobs’ charged
In 2003, Holmes founded Theranos, a company proposing new technology that would revolutionize blood testing. Holmes promised that thanks to this technique a few drops were enough to obtain the same results as a traditional blood test with a syringe and a large needle.
Holmes ‘promises helped her company attract large investments, which reached a capitalization of $ 9 billion in 2014. She was rated by Forbes as the American woman who had amassed the greatest fortune and branded by the media as the’ Steve Jobs’ of blood tests.
However, after failing to meet the expectations, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Holmes and Theranos for massive fraud. The entrepreneur had to pay a $ 500,000 fine and was prohibited from running any company for the next ten years. On September 5, 2018, the company announced its dissolution.
Now, Holmes and Balwani each face 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Both have pleaded not guilty and deny the accusations.