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SA entrepreneur and former Springleap founder Eran Eyal, who faces fraud charges in the US, is officially back as the head of US blockchain startup Shopin.
Eyal (pictured above) was charged on 24 August by the New York Attorney General with allegedly stealing $600,000 from investors by fraudulently soliciting investors to purchase convertible notes through false representations of his company, Springleap. If convicted of the top count charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Following his arrest last month, Shopin named Jennifer Haggerty as interim head (see this story), suggesting that the company had removed Eyal from his position as CEO or that Haggerty was standing in for Eyal while he was incarcerated at Rikers Island prison. He was released on 11 September after paying $500 000 bail, after spending three weeks behind bars.
A statement by Haggerty on Medium on Sunday (23 September) however makes it clear that he is still involved with the company.
Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal will remain in the role of co-CEO of Shopin
In the statement Haggerty, announced her appointment as co-CEO of Shopin, “alongside our existing founder and CEO, Eran Eyal with the full support of the Shopin team”.
“As part of this restructuring, I am stepping up to take over more responsibility of day-to-day management of the business and finances. Eran will remain in the role of co-CEO as we partner in building the Shopin business together.
“We are also putting together a new board, which will include independent members, to increase governance and transparency. The integrity of our technology and mission remains intact.
“While the recent news is upsetting to all of us, we are unified in moving forward on Shopin’s mission. All employees and vendors are being paid and we are making significant progress on the Shopin platform,” said Haggerty.
It is not clear whether Eyal still has control over the crypto keys to the wallet and the $42.5-million netted in an ICO which concluded in April — or whether as part of her role as co-CEO, Haggerty will also have access to the wallet.
The former Springleap founder last week said he’s “innocent of these malicious allegations and rumours”. While he said he would comment “soon on everything”, he has yet to respond to a full list of questions sent over a week ago to his attorney, Gregory Kehoe of Greenberg Traurig.
Since 12 September, Ventureburn has sought detailed comment from Eyal and the Shopin senior team of Haggerty and co-founders Jeremy Harkness and Divakar Rayapaty on various questions surrounding Eyal and Shopin. None of them have yet commented.
This is a developing story.
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Featured image: Former Springleap founder Eran Eyal (Facebook)