According to news agency PTI, Singapore-based fashion start-up Zilingo has sacked its Indian-origin co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ankiti Bose following an investigation into allegations of financial irregularities.
Ms. Bose was suspended by the board of the seven-year-old start-up in March, and an independent consultancy was hired to examine the issue. After failing to meet its payment commitments, the company hired financial counsel. Now, the corporation is embroiled in a major accounting scandal that has shaken Singapore’s technology sector.
“Following an inquiry performed by an independent forensics agency commissioned to investigate into charges of major financial irregularities, the company has decided to terminate Ankiti Bose’s employment with cause,” Zilingo said in a statement.
The business did not go into detail about the charges against Ms Bose or the audit results. Ms Bose stated her employment was terminated due to “insubordination” in a second statement to Bloomberg News. Ms. Bose claimed harassment after her suspension. The company announced today that the investigation had found that proper action had been taken.
“On April 11th, following her suspension on March 31, Ankiti Bose brought to the board’s notice, for the first time, several harassment-related problems relating to previous time periods, which did not contain any harassment complaints against investors or their candidates,” the statement read.
“Contrary to media reports that the suspension and investigation into Ankiti Bose were aimed at suppressing the said harassment claims,” the statement said, “the investigation has concluded that the company took appropriate action and followed due process to address these complaints that were brought to their attention.”
Ms. Bose and chief technology officer Dhruv Kapoor created the internet start-up in 2015 to provide technology to garment retailers and factories. Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned holding corporation, and Sequoia Capital are among the business’s investors.
The firm had previously stated that it had received information regarding irregularities that needed to be investigated, and that large investors were then authorised to suspend Ms Bose.
Ms. Bose refuted the charges, claiming that her suspension was in part due to her harassment reports. “Throughout the investigative period, the firm has been very upset and disturbed to witness how the board, investors, and staff have been repeatedly attacked through apparently leaked and fabricated material, as well as what looks to be sponsored and defamatory social media campaigns. The Company, the board of directors, workers, and investors have all suffered irreparable harm as a result of this,” Zilingo said.
Zilingo started as an e-commerce company focused on Southeast Asia and grew into a global supply chain for the garment industry, as well as finance and other services, over time. The firm, which employs over 600 people across eight countries, raised USD 226 million in its most recent round of funding in early 2019. The firm was valued at around USD 1 billion at the time of the funding.
According to publicly available documents on the website of Singapore’s accounting authority, the firm has yet to file annual returns for 2020 and 2021. In an email to staff earlier this week, Zilingo co-founder Dhruv Kapoor stated that the company had zero tolerance for any sort of harassment and that the acts of a few individuals were harming the company’s brand.
He said it was upsetting to watch certain employees behave against the company’s best interests, and he was saddened by reports that harassment complaints were repressed.
The email surfaced after Zilingo publicly said that Ms Bose only presented harassment-related charges after she was suspended in March and that no previous or present investor candidates on the board were informed of the allegations prior to that.