Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani arrives at federal court in San Jose, California.
The blood tests had been hailed as revolutionary, but they didn’t work. After founder Elizabeth Holmes, her business partner and ex-boyfriend must now also be in prison – even longer than herself.
IIn the Theranos scandal surrounding blood tests that didn’t work, the ex-boyfriend and former business partner of company founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to almost 13 years in prison. This is punishment for Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani’s massive deception of patients and investors, US Federal Judge Edward Davila said. With 155 months in prison, Balwani received a higher sentence than Holmes.
The charismatic company founder of Theranos was sentenced to eleven years in prison last month; she has since appealed. In the separate trial against Balwani, the public prosecutor’s office in the federal court in San Jose argued that the 57-year-old and Holmes, who was around 20 years his junior, had run Theranos together. They were therefore “partners in everything, including their crime”.
Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 when he was just 19 years old. The company advertised a supposedly revolutionary technology for particularly fast, effective and inexpensive blood tests. Theranos made Holmes a billionaire, and for years the charismatic young entrepreneur was celebrated as a tech pioneer.
She won financially strong investors and prominent supporters such as ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Later, however, research by the Wall Street Journal, which belongs to Murdoch’s media empire, revealed that her blood test devices did not work at all. Not only was Balwani number two on Theranos, he and Holmes were also involved privately.