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Personal assistant charged over tech CEO’s killing in New York

Investigators initially believed that the cousin who went to check on Saleh may have interrupted the attack.

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The New York building where his body was found (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The New York building where his body was found (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The New York building where his body was found (Frank Franklin II/AP)

A personal assistant arrested on Friday over the death of a 33-year-old tech entrepreneur was believed to have owed his boss a “significant amount of money”, New York City police said.

Tyrese Haspil faces a murder charge in the death of Fahim Saleh, whose body was found on Tuesday by a cousin who had gone to his luxury Manhattan condo to check on him.

Haspil, 21, handled finances and personal matters for Saleh, whose ventures included a ride-hailing service in Africa.

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CEO Fahim Saleh (Ademola Odusami/Gokada via AP)

CEO Fahim Saleh (Ademola Odusami/Gokada via AP)

AP

CEO Fahim Saleh (Ademola Odusami/Gokada via AP)

Haspil, who grew up on Long Island and lived in Brooklyn, was taken into police custody on Friday morning in the lobby of another luxury apartment building several blocks from where Saleh was killed, NYPD chief of detectives Rodney Harrison said.

Information on Haspil’s arraignment or a lawyer who could speak on his behalf was not immediately available.

Officers responding to the cousin’s 911 call discovered Saleh’s body in the living room of his luxury seventh-floor apartment on the Lower East Side, police said.

Investigators recovered security video showing Saleh exiting an elevator that leads directly into the full-floor, two-bedroom apartment, closely followed by a masked person dressed entirely in black, according to a law enforcement official who was briefed on the case.

The video also showed a struggle between the two that ensued at the entrance to the apartment, said the official, who was not authorised to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Mr Harrison said investigators determined that Haspil assaulted Saleh in the elevator with a stun gun a day before his body was found.

Speaking to reporters about the arrest, Harrison would not say when police believe Saleh was killed, nor would he discuss other details about the case or take questions.

Investigators initially believed that the cousin who went to check on Saleh may have interrupted the attack and that the assailant fled out a back exit.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide after an autopsy found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the body.

Saleh was the chief executive officer of ride-hailing motorcycle startup Gokada that started operating in Nigeria in 2018.

Saleh’s LinkedIn biography described him as a self-taught businessman who founded Gokada, building on his experience of first “seeing an opportunity in his parent’s native country of Bangladesh” and starting that country’s largest ride-sharing company.

It said he also invested in a similar venture in Colombia.

PA