The former executive assistant to a tech CEO found decapitated in a Manhattan apartment in 2020 has been convicted of murder

The former executive assistant of a tech CEO was found guilty Monday of murdering his boss – whom he then decapitated and dismembered – in 2020, according to a news release from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Tyrese Haspil, 25, killed Fahim Saleh, 33, to prevent him from learning Haspil had embezzled about $400,000 from the venture capitalist and CEO of Gokada, a Nigerian motorcycle ride-hail company.

A jury on Monday found Haspil guilty of one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree burglary and other charges, according to the DA’s office statement.

“Tyrese Haspil tragically cut Mr. Saleh’s life short – a man who came from a close-knit immigrant family and followed his passions to become a successful entrepreneur,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. “I hope the accountability delivered by today’s verdict can provide a measure of comfort to Mr. Saleh’s loved ones as they continue to mourn his loss.”

CNN has reached out to Haspil’s attorney Sam Roberts at The Legal Aid Society, which represents New Yorkers who cannot pay for legal services, for comment.

Haspil is expected to be sentenced in September, according to the release.

Haspil became Saleh’s assistant in May 2018, where he was tasked with a variety of responsibilities including handling Saleh’s finances – which is how he gained access to Saleh’s financial records, according to the DA’s office release.

That fall, Haspil began stealing from Saleh’s companies using two separate schemes, the DA’s office stated. Haspil created several financial accounts, including a PayPal account, to funnel funds into the accounts while also creating fake statements and mimicking transactions that would go undetected by his boss, according to the release.

Fahim Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Gokada, explains his company's operation during an interview with Reuters in Lagos, Nigeria on May 3, 2019. - Temilade Adelaja/Reuters/File
Fahim Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Gokada, explains his company's operation during an interview with Reuters in Lagos, Nigeria on May 3, 2019. - Temilade Adelaja/Reuters/File

Haspil resigned in May 2019, but continued to steal money, the release said.

In January 2020, after one of the frauds was found and traced to Haspil, Saleh confronted his former mentee for stealing $35,000 from his company and proposed a settlement to pay back the debt and avoid criminal prosecution, according to the release.

Haspil agreed to pay back Saleh over an agreed upon two-year period but did so using the stolen money from the PayPal financial scheme, causing him to embezzle nearly $400,000, according to the DA’s office.

Fearing Saleh would learn of his continued embezzlement, Haspil then decided to plot Saleh’s murder – believing that killing his former boss would prevent Saleh from testifying against him, according to the release.

On July 13, 2020, Haspil followed Saleh into his Lower East Side condo, tased him in the back and stabbed him multiple times, the release stated. The next day, Haspil returned to the apartment “to dismember the body and clean up the crime scene,” according to the release.

Haspil left briefly while attempting to clean the crime scene, and Saleh’s cousin, who went to the apartment to check on him, found Saleh’s body with his head and limbs severed, the release said. Haspil did not re-enter the apartment after seeing police outside.

On July 17, police arrested Haspil in Manhattan.

Saleh was well known for his support of fledgling techies. He was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents. He grew up in upstate New York and had a computer science degree from Bentley University in Massachusetts.

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