NEW DELHI, June 19 (Reuters) – Sequoia Capital India has requested an area court docket to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by one in all its former basic counsels, saying it was an try to curb its free speech rights and hurt its pursuits, the enterprise capital agency’s court docket submitting exhibits.
Sequoia has been locked in a authorized battle with Sandeep Kapoor, after he included the corporate in a defamation lawsuit in opposition to media corporations that reported on a leaked Sequoia electronic mail of June 2. Kapoor was Sequoia’s in-house basic counsel for practically 9 years till 2019. learn extra
The lawsuit is the most recent in a sequence of troubles for Sequoia which have the corporate grappling with complaints from startups about broken belief following high-profile governance scandals at a few of its portfolio corporations in India and Southeast Asia.
Kapoor’s agency, Algo Authorized, has mentioned in a press assertion and its lawsuit that Sequoia despatched an electronic mail to its portfolio corporations this month making baseless references to “regarding particulars” in regards to the regulation agency that harm its enterprise and status.
Sequoia denied the allegations in a 19-page court docket submitting in India’s tech hub of Bengaluru on June 18, calling the lawsuit “frivolous and vexatious” and saying it was responsibility certain to tell its portfolio corporations when it detected sure irregularities.
An impartial probe at Sequoia Capital-backed vogue startup in Singapore, Zilingo, discovered sure funds made to Algo and its associated entities “weren’t in consonance with the engagement phrases/contracts”, forcing Sequoia to warning its portfolio corporations from coping with the regulation agency, the court docket submitting states.
Sequoia’s submitting, which has been seen by Reuters, has not been made public.
A spokesperson for Algo and Kapoor mentioned on Sunday they informed the court docket on Saturday the investigation into Zilingo’s affairs is ongoing and there was no last discovering, and that Sequoia’s allegations within the submitting had been with out advantage.
Detailing the Zilingo probe’s findings for the primary time, Sequoia mentioned it discovered the style startup paid Algo and its associated entities greater than $6 million between 2020 and 2022.
In such circumstances, Sequoia mentioned, its “proper to freedom of speech prevails over the plaintiff’s proper of status because the assertion was issued with none malice and with none intention to defame.”
Sequoia was Algo’s prime shopper in billings, however the U.S. enterprise capital agency ended its engagement with Algo in January. Sequoia on Sunday declined to touch upon its court docket submitting.
The Bengaluru court docket will subsequent hear the matter on June 29.
Zilingo in April suspended its 30-year-old CEO and cofounder Ankiti Bose, a former Sequoia analyst, over suspected monetary irregularities. Bose was later dismissed in what she has mentioned was a wrongful termination. learn extra
Zilingo and Bose didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Sunday.
Bose’s removing, Zilingo has beforehand mentioned, adopted an impartial investigation into complaints about what the startup described as “critical monetary irregularities”.
Reporting by Aditya Kalra and M. Sriram in New Delhi; Enhancing by Tom Hogue