Closing words begin in the trial against Sunny Balwani


for months Ramesh BalwaniHis lawyers have tried to set him apart Elizabeth Holmeshis former girlfriend and business partner at the failed blood testing company Theranos.

It was Mrs. Holmes found guilty defrauding the start-up’s investors in January. Mr Balwani is aiming for a different result its own fraud process.

But on Tuesday, in closing statements for Mr Balwani’s trial, prosecutors linked him directly to Ms Holmes and years of fraud in Theranos. Jeffrey Schenk, an assistant US attorney and lead prosecutor in the case, showed a text message Mr Balwani sent to Ms Holmes in 2015, which was used as evidence at the trial.

“I am responsible for everything at Theranos,” wrote Mr. Balwani. “Everything was also my decisions.”

The text message was an admission of guilt, Mr Schenk said, adding: “He acknowledges his role in the scam.”

The presentation capped more than three months of testimony at Mr Balwani’s trial, which largely mirrored Ms Holmes’ recent fall. Ms Holmes and Mr Balwani, 57, were charged in 2018 for exaggerating the capabilities of Theranos blood testing devices and business performance, when in fact the products weren’t working and the business was struggling. The duo pleaded not guilty. Ms Holmes was convicted on four counts out of eleven.

The trial for Mr. Balwani, known as Sunny, lacked the fanfare of Ms. Holmes’ high-profile case. It nevertheless serves as a coda to a Decaying era of start-up growth which often relied on hype and exaggeration. Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani are among the very few technology executives who have ever been charged with fraud.

Just as Ms. Holmes was trying to blame others for the deceptions in Theranos, Mr. Balwani pointed the finger back at her. Throughout the trial, his attorneys argued that many of Theranos’ blood tests worked. And they said that Ms. Holmes controls Theranos, not Mr. Balwani. They were scheduled to begin their closing arguments later Tuesday.

Ms Holmes, now 38, met Mr Balwani when she was 18. They began dating years later after Mrs. Holmes founded Theranos. In 2009, Mr. Balwani invested in Theranos and became its Chief Operating Officer, eventually taking over the management of the lab. The couple kept their relationship a secret and lived together in a sprawling home they jointly owned in Atherton, California.

In 2016, after Theranos came under fire for lying about its blood testing abilities, Mr Balwani left the company and split from Ms Holmes. The couple were jointly charged with fraud but Ms Holmes argued on the files that the cases should be separated and accused Mr Balwani of emotional and sexual abuse. Your process included dramatic testimony to the allegations. This subject was excluded from Mr. Balwani’s trial.

To convict Mr. Balwani, prosecutors must convince the jury that he deliberately lied to investors and patients about Theranos’ blood tests and business dealings.

Prosecutors tried to blame Mr. Balwani for financial projections Theranos showed investors and the state of its labs. The new witnesses included investors and executives who dealt directly with Mr. Balwani and not Ms. Holmes.

A forecast presented to investors in October 2014 indicated that Theranos would bring in $140 million this year. In reality, the income was limited. Over the next year, Mr. Balwani projected nearly $1 billion in pitches to investors. Theranos’ internal projections were much lower, evidence showed, and reality was closer to zero.

A new witness, Patrick Mendenhall, who dealt directly with Mr. Balwani during an investment in Theranos, outlined the promises made, which turned out to be misleading or false.

Brian Grossman, an investor in hedge fund PFM Health Sciences who was also a witness in Ms. Holmes’ trial, testified that Mr. Balwani provided his team with financial projections that vastly overstated Theranos’ projected earnings.

“When Mr. Balwani communicates with an investor, it is for a specific reason and the purpose is to deceive him in order to get money,” said Mr. Schenk.

Prosecutors also emphasized Mr Balwani’s role in running the laboratory of Theranos, which the executive branch described as a “disaster area” in a 2014 text message used in evidence. Mr Balwani would also “eliminate dissidents” by intimidating or ousting employees who expressed concern about Theranos testing, as Dr. Adam Rosendorff, a former lab director who testified in both studies, said Mr. Schenk

Notably absent from the witness stand were James Mattis, a former secretary of defense and board member of Theranos, and Ms. Holmes, both of whom had testified at Ms. Holmes’ trial. Mr Balwani did not testify in his own defence.

If convicted, Mr Balwani and Ms Holmes will be sentenced together in September.

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