A spectacular process started this week in California (US). Accused: Elizabeth Holmes (37), celebrated a few years ago in Silicon Valley as a child prodigy.
At the age of 30, Holmes became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Her role model: Apple founder Steve Jobs († 56). With her company Theranos she wanted to market a device (“Edison”) that can diagnose all kinds of diseases from a few drops of blood. The problem: the device never worked. During demonstrations, partial analyzes were carried out secretly with Siemens devices, among other things. An investigative reporter exposed the hoax.
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The charge is fraud. Holmes threatens up to 20 years imprisonment and damages in the millions. There are 200 potential witnesses and the trial is expected to take three months. The outcome of the proceedings depends on the verdict of the twelve-person jury. The question is whether Holmes has deliberately lied to investors (including media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch) and customers. The defense wants to blame Holmes’ ex-partner and co-founder Ramesh Balwani (56). He psychologically abused her and put her under pressure.
In July, Holmes became the mother of a boy. In a podcast, the investigative reporter who uncovered the Theranos scandal speculated that there might be tactics behind the pregnancy and childbirth to influence the process. When it started on Wednesday, the news was: Holmes was wearing a blouse and blazer. Not a black turtleneck. That was their trademark – copied from Steve Jobs.