Theranos saga: Closing arguments set in trial of ex-COO Sunny Balwani

Closing arguments are set to begin on Tuesday in the criminal fraud trial of former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who stands accused of scheming with his former girlfriend, founder Elizabeth Holmes, to deceive investors and patients with the company’s failed blood-testing technology .

Holmes, 38, was convicted on one charge of conspiracy and three charges of fraud against investors in January, but was acquitted on four counts alleging she had deceived patients. Her sentencing is slated for September, and she could face as much as 20 years behind bars.

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos CEO and the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, in an interview on September 29, 2015 (David Orrell / CNBC / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Holmes launched Theranos in 2003, offering a purportedly revolutionary blood-testing technology she claimed could diagnose diseases with just a few drops of blood. She became romantically involved with Balwani around the same time.

WHAT IS THERANOS?

Balwani, 57, became Theranos ‘chief operating officer in 2010, serving as Holmes’ deputy and pouring $ 15 million of his own funds into the business while the pair were secretly lovers that were living together.

Sunny Balwani theranos

Former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny ‘Balwani leaves the Robert F. Peckham US Federal Court on June 28, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / Getty Images)

Theranos raised more than $ 900 million from investors, and at its peak, it made Holmes a billionaire on paper while Balwani’s share in the firm reached a value of around $ 500 million. But the company began to unravel in 2015 after The Wall Street Journal exposed that Theranos was using traditional machines for its blood testing rather than its own technology. The next year, Holmes dumped Balwani both as her business partner and lover, and Theranos was shut down in 2018.

GEORGIA FINANCIAL ADVISOR EVADING ARREST SINCE 2020 ORDERED TO PAY $ 12M TO VICTIMS

During her own trial, Holmes admitted mistakes but attempted to shift blame to Balwani on the witness stand, alleging that he mislead her about the effectiveness of Theranos’ technology, and accusing him of emotional and sexual abuse.

Sunny Balwani Theranos

Sunny Balwani, former president of Theranos Inc. (Photographer: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Balwani did not testify in his own trial, leaving his defense solely in the hands of his attorneys who argued that he was a benevolent investor who became wrapped up in Holmes’ scheme after coming on board at Theranos. Prosecutors have attempted to paint him as an active participant in the scam who helped Holmes dupe investors.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, like Holmes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.