Skip to content
Elizabeth Holmes tells court her ex-boyfriend forced her to have sex with him as lawyers cite emotional abuse

Former Theranos entrepreneur and founder Elizabeth Holmes said in court Monday that she was assaulted by her former business and romantic partner Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani, who allegedly forced her to have sex with him and would have controlled what she ate.

Ms Holmes’ testimony came on the fourth day of her high-profile trial where she is accused of devising a medical scam with her now outdated blood testing technology that could have performed blood tests faster than conventional lab tests.

She faces fraud charges and is accused of defrauding investors and clients while putting patients at risk. Although Ms Holmes has pleaded not guilty, she could face a prison sentence of up to twenty years if found guilty.

Ms Holmes, 37, said on Monday that she met Mr Balwani, 56, while in high school.

She dropped out of Stanford University in 2003, after which she founded Theranos.

Her lawyers said Monday she left Stanford in part because she was allegedly raped while in college, reported Reuters.

Ms Holmes said she believed this explained her submission to Mr Balwani over the following years.

Ms Holmes said she grew closer to him when she saw him as a successful businessman. “He said I was safe now that I had met him,” she said in court.

The couple entered into a romantic relationship in 2005. Later, Mr. Balwani served as the company’s chief operating officer from 2009 to 2016.

Ms Holmes described in court that Mr Balwani would ask her to “kill” her former self in order to become more focused and disciplined as an entrepreneur, reported Associated press (AP).

He would ask her to write down her daily goals for at least 30 minutes each morning. He would also ask her not to spend more than five minutes with anyone unless she wrote down a rationale for doing so.

“He felt like I was a little girl and thought I needed to be more serious and sharp,” she said.

She also said he tried to force her to cut herself off from her family in order to devote her full attention to the business.

He often berated her and compared his management of the business to a “monkey piloting a spaceship”. If she didn’t follow his ways, he would say he was “disappointed” with her “mediocrity.” He also controlled his diet, to keep it “pure”.

Ms Holmes said that sometimes after putting her down he would force her to have sex with him in order to show her that he still loved her.

Theranos, which was once valued at $ 9 billion and billed as a Silicon Valley startup success story, collapsed after a series of articles in the the Wall Street newspaper in 2015 suggested that the blood test machines were faulty and inaccurate. Ms Holmes was charged in 2018.

Ms Holmes said last week that Mr Balwani had prepared financial projections which were shared with investors. She said she was not claiming he was checking her statements to investors or business partners, but rather that she had not interviewed him as she should have.

Mr Balwani’s attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, who was present in court, vehemently denied Ms Holmes’ abuse allegations, reported AP.

She will be cross-examined by a prosecutor on Tuesday.


The Independent Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.