Personal assistant, 21, is charged with second-degree murder
The personal assistant of Fahim Saleh, the tech entrepreneur who was found decapitated and dismembered with an electric saw in his $2.2million Manhattan apartment, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, was arrested and charged over the grisly murder of his 33-year-old boss in his Lower East Side apartment earlier this week.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Haspil, who handled Saleh's finances and personal affairs as his personal assistant, owed the victim a 'significant amount' of money before his murder. Saleh discovered his assistant had allegedly stolen $100,000 from him and that he set up a payment plan for Haspil to repay the money instead of reporting him to authorities.
Detectives started investigating Haspil after finding text messages in which Saleh accused Haspil of stealing the money, according to police sources.
Investigators believe Saleh was killed on Monday - a day before his body was found by his cousin inside the apartment. Detective Harrison has confirmed that Haspil assaulted Saleh with a taser on Monday at about 1.45pm at the apartment.
Autopsy results released on Thursday revealed that Saleh was tasered and then stabbed multiple times before being dismembered.
Surveillance footage from inside the 265 East Houston apartment building showed Saleh was followed into the elevator by a man - believed to be Haspil - who was wearing a black suit and mask.
Investigators say Saleh, who was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, appeared suspicious when the masked-man fumbled with the elevator, which requires the use of a key fob to operate.
The footage shows the victim collapsing to the ground as the elevator doors opened directly into Saleh's full-floor apartment. The elevator doors then closed and obscured the camera's view of what happened next.
Police have only confirmed that Haspil assaulted his boss. It is not yet clear if Haspil is also accused of killing and dismembering Saleh.
Haspil's credit card was allegedly used after the murder to purchase a power saw and cleaning products at Home Depot, police sources told the Daily Beast. The card was allegedly also used to pay for travel to and from Saleh's apartment.
Investigators believe the alleged killer returned to Saleh's apartment on Tuesday to dismember the tech entrepreneur's body. Law enforcement officials say the alleged killer may have been waiting for the victim's blood to coagulate before dismembering him.
When police arrived at the scene, Saleh's torso was found in the corner of his living room and his head, arms, and legs had been separated into plastic bags.
An electric saw that was still plugged in, a vacuum cleaner and cleaning products were found nearby.
When the alleged killer returned the following day to clean up, police believe they may have been interrupted by Saleh's cousin who stopped by to check in on him.
His cousin likely pressed the buzzer of Saleh's apartment before entering the building, alerting the killer and forcing him to abandon his efforts to dispose of the remains.
The killer is believed to have fled the building through a fire escape while his victim's sibling rode the elevator up, police said.
Saleh, who was born in Saudi Arabia but grew up in New York in a Bengali family, bought his luxury apartment for $2.25 million last year, records show.
Police sources said initially they believed the murder was financially motivated and likely the fatal result of a soured business deal.
Prior to the personal assistant's arrest, investigators had been looking into Saleh's business affairs for any possible motives or suspects.
Haspil, who is from Elmont, New York, had worked for Saleh at his investment firm Adventure Capital.
It appears he attended Hofstra University where he studied arts and marketing. It is not yet clear how he came to work for Saleh.
Saleh was the chief executive officer of a ride-hailing motorcycle startup called Gokada that began operating in Nigeria in 2018.
The firm, Gokada, recently faced severe setbacks after being banned earlier this year by the Nigerian government. It was forced to lay off staff and pivot from being a ride-sharing service to a delivery courier.
The ban came at a difficult moment for Gokada which had just raised $5.3 million in funding from Rise Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, in May 2019.
After the ban was enacted, the firm stopped bringing in money and around 800 bikers working for Gorkada were also immediately laid off.
Saleh was working on new ideas and a new direction for the firm.
At the time of his death, Saleh was also being sued by a former prison guard turned criminal who was jailed for using his app PrankDial, which he founded in 2015, to secretly record and listen to employees' phone calls.
The applet Kirk Eady, the former deputy director of Hudson County Correctional Facility, place a call between two employees without them knowing he was behind it, then listen to whatever they said.
He listened to their complaints about him and about their jobs then retaliated against them in the workplace, according to prosecutors.
He was jailed for 15 months and in 2017 and sued Saleh for fraud, claiming the app made him think what he was doing was legal.
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The dismembered body of 33-year-old tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh was found inside his luxury Manhattan condo where an electric saw was left behind, police in New York have said.