Sunny Balwani Is Still Awaiting Trial in Theranos Case
Elizabeth Holmes is the subject of Hulu’s latest documentary series. Starring Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout” follows Holmes’s journey to becoming the youngest self-made woman billionaire after she introduced revolutionary technology that could replace traditional blood tests through her company, Theranos. Only one problem: it all turned out to be one huge lie. But Holmes isn’t the only person at fault. Her ex-boyfriend and former right-hand man, Sunny Balwani (née Ramesh Balwani), is also to blame.
Details about Balwani’s past are still pretty scarce, but we do know that he was previously married to Japanese artist Keiko Fujimoto. They divorced in 2002. As for his career, Balwani previously worked in software. He was a sales manager for Microsoft in Northern California before he eventually joined a start-up called CommerceBid in 1999.
Balwani served as president of the company, which created platforms that enabled businesses to pit suppliers against each other to lower costs. According to the New York Times, CommerceBid ended up getting sold for $225 million to another company called Commerce One less than a year after it was created. A few weeks after the two companies merged, Commerce One was worth $20 billion. However, its success was short-lived. After the recession in 2004, Commerce One was worth nothing. Still, Balwani ended up making an estimated $40 million.
After his endeavours with CommerceBid and Commerce One, Balwani moved on to Theranos, where he served as the chief operating officer and Holmes’s close confidante. In 2018, Balwani and Holmes were both indicted for criminal fraud. Similar to Holmes – who was recently convicted on three charges of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by lying to investors – Balwani is currently facing fraud charges, though he previously pleaded not guilty. Holmes has also accused Balwani of physical and psychological abuse, which he has also denied.
Balwani’s trial was originally set to begin in February, but it was delayed due to the surge in COVID cases. Balwani’s lawyer, Jeffrey Coopersmith, objected to the delay, saying Balwani has been “waiting a long time.” However, the judge’s primary concern was the safety of everyone in the courtroom. His trial is now expected to start sometime in March.