Former Assistant Convicted In Brutal Murder Of Gokada Founder

By  |  June 26, 2024

A Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday reached a verdict in the case against the accused in the gruesome murder of Fahim Saleh, a tech entrepreneur notable for launching Gokada, a once prominent bike-hailing operation in Nigeria.

Tyrese Haspil, 25, was this week convicted of first-degree murder having slain his former boss, Saleh, and dismembered his body in 2020. Haspil is expected to be sentenced on September 10, The NY Times reports.

The latest developments in the murder trial of Saleh’s former assistant, Haspil, have brought new details to light, revealing a tale of betrayal, greed, and a meticulously planned crime.

From Promising Entrepreneur to Victim

The late Saleh, born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents, was a tech entrepreneur known for his innovative contributions to the ride-sharing industry. He founded Gokada in 2018, establishing it as a prominent motorbike-taxi service in Lagos, Nigeria. Saleh was also known for his philanthropic efforts, notably through Adventure Capital, a venture capital fund aimed at supporting tech entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Saleh’s promising career was cut short on July 14, 2020, when his dismembered body was found in his Manhattan apartment. The main suspect: his 21-year-old former assistant, Tyrese Haspil.

Unravelling the Betrayal

The relationship between Saleh and Haspil started in 2018 when Saleh hired the young coding prodigy as his personal assistant. Haspil was entrusted with managing the finances of Adventure Capital. However, it soon became apparent that Haspil was abusing this trust. Between December 2018 and May 2019, Haspil allegedly embezzled over USD 98 K, a figure later revealed to be just a fraction of the total stolen amount.

Emails exchanged between Saleh and Haspil painted a picture of growing suspicion. Saleh confronted Haspil in January 2020 about the missing funds. Haspil admitted to the theft and proposed a repayment plan, which Saleh, in a gesture of leniency, agreed to. Saleh decided against involving the police, trusting Haspil to make amends.

The Sinister Turn

Despite this agreement, Haspil’s criminal activities did not cease. He created a fake PayPal account under the pseudonym “Nethertek Switzerland,” continuing to siphon money from Saleh even as he appeared to be repaying him. This ongoing embezzlement highlighted the extent of Haspil’s betrayal.

Fearing that his broader scheme, which totalled around USD 400 K, would be uncovered, Haspil allegedly plotted to murder Saleh to prevent him from testifying. Prosecutors described the killing as a “meticulously researched and executed” act. Haspil’s actions, including searching for “Fahim Saleh,” “Murder of tech C.E.O. in New York,” and “Dismembered body,” added a chilling dimension to the case.

On the morning of July 13, 2020, Haspil entered Saleh’s apartment building in a black suit and mask. He followed Saleh into the elevator, which opened directly into his apartment, incapacitated him with a Taser, and then fatally stabbed him. The following day, Haspil returned to dismember the body, but was interrupted when he stepped out to get batteries for an electric saw he was using for the egregious act, during which Saleh’s cousin arrived at the apartment and discovered the horrific scene.

Legal Proceedings and Verdict

The trial, held in Manhattan Criminal Court, culminated in a guilty verdict for Haspil on charges of murder and embezzlement. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg remarked, “Tyrese Haspil tragically cut Mr. Saleh’s life short — a man who came from a close-knit immigrant family and followed his passions to become a successful entrepreneur.”

Sam Roberts, Haspil’s lawyer, acknowledged his client’s guilt but urged the court to consider mitigating factors, stating, “We fully believe that Tyrese Haspil is not solely and only the worst thing that he’s done in his life.”

The murder of Fahim Saleh sent shockwaves through the tech industry. Saleh’s legacy as an innovative entrepreneur and a supportive mentor to aspiring tech professionals remains intact, but his untimely death leaves a painful wound in the hearts of many.

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