Silicon Valley flagship Theranos, headed by Elisabeth Holmes, finds itself in court in California for what is perhaps the biggest health scam of the decade.
American justice has its work cut out for it. Yesterday in the court of San José in California opened the most important trial of this end of the year. That of a woman, Elisabeth Holmes, who in 2003 left Stanford before graduating to found Theranos. She then promises a sanitary revolution. With a single drop of blood, its machines can perform a large number of tests and controls, all in record time. The question of medical analyzes is a hot topic across the Atlantic. Most of the time, they are not reimbursed and can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
It is in this breach that Elisabeth Holmes and her company Theranos are engulfed. 10 years later, Holmes is Silicon Valley’s most influential woman, she poses in One of Fortune or Forbes. Her fortune is estimated in 2015 at $ 3.5 billion, she is the youngest billionaire not to have inherited her fortune. With her black turtleneck and her revolutionary ideas, many compared her to Steve Jobs. The founder of Apple who died a few years before the glory of the young scientist is a model for the latter who is greatly inspired by it. But in October 2015, when the company was valued at $ 9 billion, the house of cards collapsed. John Carreyrou, journalist at Wall Street Journal publishes an amazing article. The Theranos adventure is based on a huge lie.
From future Steve Jobs to new Madoff
Elisabeth Holmes is not the future Steve Jobs, she is not a genius scientist, but a liar. Her machines never worked, she lied to investors, tampered with analytical evidence, faux diagnostics (including several which resulted in the indirect death of the patient). She finds herself ruined overnight. Theranos goes up in smoke in the process. The words of now ex-employees are released, and all testify against their former boss. Tyrannical, paranoid, manipulative… they paint the portrait of a brain ready to do anything to achieve success and glory.
Constantly watched, the former employees also testify against Holmes’ right-hand man, Ramesh Balwani, his former lover 19 years his senior. These testimonies are the keystone of this trial. If the cheating and the lies are indisputable, Holmes’ lawyers intend to put the hat on his partner, in order to save the skin of their client. According to them, Balwani is the mastermind of the operation. He exerted psychological pressure on young Elisabeth to keep her in silence and make the lie last. Ramesh Balwani’s lawyers obviously deny the facts. The latter will also be tried in a second trial, for the same charges as Elisabeth Holmes.
A lie that everyone believed
In the list of civil parties, big names are jostling. US media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and Mexican billionaire Carlos Sim, had invested millions in the company. Among the other victims of this affair, many Theranos patients who received false diagnoses with sometimes serious consequences (non detection of AIDS, cancer, etc.). Elisabeth Holmes appeared before the court for 12 counts, ranging from fraud to criminal conspiracy. The height of history, the group that owns the Wall Street Journal, yet at the origin of the revelation of this affair, had also invested millions in the Theranos promise.
The trial, which began yesterday, is expected to last 13 weeks. For now, no one knows whether Elisabeth Holmes has planned to remain silent or not. In her interrogation, she answered almost all the questions with ” I dont know “. This double-edged sword strategy could still be used during the trial. At the opening of the latter, Elisabeth Holmes’ lawyer spoke, explaining that his client was innocent: “Aafter this trial, the villain you are described will turn into a human, a human who made mistakes, but mistakes are not illegal. This woman is innocent ”. Elisabeth Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison.
Source: Journal du Geek by www.journaldugeek.com.
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