On Tuesday the co-founder of two ride-sharing companies was found brutally murdered in his luxury Lower East Side apartment.
Update 7/17/2020: Fahim Saleh's former personal assistant has been arrested in connection with Saleh's murder.
21-year-old Tyrese Devon Haspil had previously worked as chief of staff at Saleh's venture capital firm Adventure Capital, and served the function of Saleh's personal assistant. During that time Haspil allegedly stole tens of thousnads of dollars from Saleh, but when Saleh discovered the theft he chose to make an arrangement for Haspil to repay the stolen money in installments, rather than file a police report.
That act of mercy may sadly have led Haspil to a much more heinous crime. Perhaps the young man was struggling to make his payments, or otherwise soured on the arrangement and Saleh himself. Whatever the motivation, Haspil seemingly went with Saleh to the CEO's luxury apartment prepared to take violent action.
NYPD Announces Arrest In Killing, Dismemberment Of Fahim Saleh www.youtube.com
Once inside the apartment on Monday July 13th, Haspil is reported to have attacked Saleh with a taser before fatally stabbing him. It wasn't until the next day that Haspil allegedly returned to dispose of the body and was interrupted by the arrival of Saleh's cousin.
As police investigations continue in preparation for trial, it may come to light that the story is more complicated than it seems, but for now Haspil is being held in police custody and has been charged with second-degree murder.
Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of murder and mutilation.
On Tuesday, July 14th, the body of 33-year-old tech entrepreneur Fahim Saleh was found decapitated and dismembered in his Houston St. apartment in New York City.
An open and enthusiastic young businessman, Saleh was one of the founders of Pathao—which recently became the only ride-sharing services officially approved to operate in Bangladesh, a nation of more than 150 million people. In 2018 Pathao was reportedly valued at more than $100 million, but it was far from Saleh's only venture.
Web constitutes 20% of our traffic! Wild how long this app has been running. Since 2010 nearly 300 million calls sent.— Fahim Saleh (@Fahim Saleh)1585797417.0
Saleh, the son of Bangladeshi immigrants, was born in Saudi Arabia before his family settled in New York. He began coding as a teenager and founded PrankDial—a website and app allowing users to make anonymous prank phone calls—when he was fresh out of college.
In 2015 Saleh co-founded Pathao along with Shifat Adnan and CEO Hussain Elius. Headquartered in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, the service launched with a fleet of bikes and motorcycles that provide rides as well as food and parcel delivery.
The company grew quickly in Bangladesh and gained popularity abroad as well, with particular success in Nepal. But Saleh wasn't one to rest on his laurels. In 2017 he connected with Nigerian entrepreneur Deji Oduntan to launch Gokada—another ride-sharing venture, this time headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
Gokada doesn't follow the traditional model of ride-sharing apps, which take a portion of every fare. Instead, it charges a flat daily rate of 3,000 Nigerian Naira (just shy of $8) for use of its service.
Saleh, who had apparently matured a great deal since his PrankDial days, had long professed a preference for providing a useful, helpful service rather than maximizing profits. Still, with him as its CEO, Gokada grew in popularity as well, enticing millions of dollars in investment and projected to be worth $40 million by 2022.
In short, Fahim Saleh was massively successful, and he seemed to be headed for even greater success before Tuesday afternoon, when he was found dead in the living room of his multimillion dollar Lower East Side apartment.
Have a very good feeling about 2020— Fahim Saleh (@Fahim Saleh)1591132641.0
In a grisly scene, Saleh's severed limbs and head were found in separate plastic construction bags, his torso left out, an electric saw nearby. Apart from those details, the area was so thoroughly cleaned that NYPD officials speculate that the killer may have been a professional who targeted Saleh specifically.
In security footage captured in Fahim Saleh's apartment building on Monday afternoon, an unidentified man in a mask reportedly waited to board the elevator with Saleh. While there's nothing suspicious about the mask itself—given the on-going coronavirus pandemic—he was also reportedly dressed in all black, and one police source referred to the man as being "dressed like a ninja."
The man was carrying a bag—possibly containing the power saw and construction bags—and sources say that the two exchanged some words on the ride up to Saleh's seventh floor apartment. Whatever the man had to say apparently confused Saleh, who gave him a puzzled look. Then, when the elevator doors opened onto Saleh's apartment and Saleh stepped out, the man immediately moved to attack him.
It's unclear how long Saleh remained alive after that initial attack, but it wasn't until the next day that Saleh's cousin, who had been trying to reach him, went to his apartment to check on him. After attempting to buzz in—likely scaring off the killer while he was in the process of cleaning the scene and disposing of the body—she let herself in and discovered the horrifying scene of her brother's murder.
Police have not yet released a more detailed description of the killer, and the motivation for the crime remains unclear. There was no evidence of theft at the scene, so killing Saleh seems to have been the entire point. But why?
A man with so many international business dealings might easily have angered the wrong person. On a more local level, Saleh was being sued by a New Jersey man who claimed that Saleh and others had misled him about the legality of using PrankDial to wiretap his subordinates at the Hudson County Correctional Facility.
So was the killer hired by a professional rival, or someone with a personal grudge? Did the killer himself have a reason to target Saleh? Or will it turn out to be a random act of terrifying violence?
For now, the tragic and shocking death of Fahim Saleh will remain a mystery.
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