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Zilingo Terminates CEO Ankiti Bose’s Employment For Financial Irregularities; Bose Considers Legal Action

Zilingo Terminates CEO Ankiti Bose’s Employment For Financial Irregularities; Bose Considers Legal Action

Zilingo has terminated the employment of Bose after the results of an independent inquiry into complaints of financial irregularities

Ankiti Bose told Inc42 she would be pursuing legal action against the board

Bose added that her dismissal has nothing to do with the financial allegations, but “insubordination”

Singapore-based fashion startup Zilingo has terminated the employment of cofounder and CEO Ankiti Bose, based on results of an independent inquiry into complaints of financial irregularities.

“Following an investigation led by an independent forensics firm that was commissioned to look into complaints of serious financial irregularities, the Company has decided to terminate Ms Ankiti Bose’s employment with cause, and reserves the right to pursue appropriate legal action,” the company said in a statement.

It added that another top consulting firm was appointed to look into the claims of sexual and workplace harassment brought to the board’s notice by Bose after her suspension.

“The investigation has concluded that the company took appropriate action and followed due process to address these complaints that were brought to their notice, contrary to media reports that have suggested that the suspension and investigation into Ankiti Bose were aimed at suppressing the said harassment claims,” Zilingo’s statement added.

In a statement to Inc42 following the news of her termination, Bose said she would be pursuing legal action against the board in this matter. Here’s the full statement from the Zilingo cofounder, who holds 8.58% stake in the company.

I have been suspended for the last 51 days on the basis of an anonymous whistle-blower complaint which I have been told came in connivance. This week I trusted my board and told them in detail about the amount of harassment and duress I have undergone in the past few years and today I am informed that my employment has been terminated on grounds of “insubordination” amongst other things.

I was suspended on the basis that the Company had instructed Kroll to investigate the complaint. I have in good faith proceeded to be interviewed by Kroll on the very day I was told of my suspension.

However, a Kroll document later revealed that Kroll had in fact been appointed not by the Company but by Sequoia Capital. Later it was clarified that the company had later on hired Kroll. In fact, it was Mr Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital who informed me that I was suspended by decision of the Board when it later transpired that the Board had not yet done so.

After I had raised my concerns with the Board about Sequoia Capital’s outsized involvement, Mr Shailendra Singh resigned from the Board and was replaced by Mr Sandeep Kher. Mr Sandeep Kher was the first signatory on my Termination Letter – from the very firm I have requested be refused for conflict of interest . At the point of my purported termination, I have yet to be presented with the findings of both Kroll AND Deloitte and my reports being incomplete, the board has wrongfully terminated me today for “insubordination” without giving me a chance to address fully the concerns that have been raised.

I have only asked for due process and not gotten it.

In fact, I was actively engaging with Kroll to provide them with the information and documents requested.  I had even offered to liaise with colleagues and vendors to prepare a more complete respond to Kroll’s queries. My purported termination while I am still engaging with Kroll speaks for itself.

It is also telling that the main reason for my dismissal has nothing to do with the financial allegations, but “insubordination”.

I fully reserve my rights to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law.

Besides this Bose is also bidding to repay Zilingo’s outstanding loans to the tune of $40 Mn after creditors recalled these loans in the aftermath of the disruption of the business and the suspension of the CEO.

It is unclear how her termination from the position of CEO affects the status of the financial commitments Bose was looking to secure to repay these loans.