Detectives in New York City have made an arrest in the gruesome killing of Mr. Fahim Saleh, 33, a venture capitalist and founder of Gokada, a motor-cycle-ride sharing app company operating in Nigeria.
His Personal Assistant, Tyrese Devon Haspil, 21, was early Friday taken into custody by the police in New York and will be charged for his murder, according to a New Times story by William K. Rashbaum and Michael Gold, citing to officials briefed on the matter.
Saleh was found dismembered and decapitated in his Manhattan apartment a on Tuesday afternoon by his sister inside his $2.5m condo on the lower eastside of the district.
Haspil is expected to be charged in a criminal complaint with second-degree murder and other crimes.
According to the report, detectives believe that the motive for the killing stemmed from Mr. Saleh’s having discovered that the assistant had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from him, despite the fact that Mr. Saleh had not reported the man and had set up what amounted to a repayment plan for him to return the money, one of the officials said.
The police were expected to announce the arrest at a news conference on Friday.
Investigators have also concluded that Mr. Saleh was killed on Monday, the day before his body was found, and that the killer used his employer’s credit card to pay for a car to a Home Depot, on West 23rd Street in Manhattan, to buy cleaning supplies to sanitize the crime scene, the official said. The killer returned to Mr. Saleh’s apartment the next day to dismember the body and clean up.
The report also said detectives believe that the killer, dressed in a black three-piece suit, wearing a black mask and carrying a duffel bag, followed Mr. Saleh off an elevator in his building and into his apartment, a law enforcement official said. He used a Taser to immobilize Mr. Saleh and then stabbed him to death.
Security video taken from inside the elevator shows the killer later using a battery-operated portable vacuum cleaner in an apparent effort to remove any traces of his presence, the official said.
New York City’s medical examiner announced on Thursday that Mr. Saleh had died from multiple stab wounds to his neck and torso. Initially, a law enforcement official had described the killing as a “hit” and said it looked “like a professional job.”
Detectives investigating the murder believe the killer’s work dismembering the body was interrupted when Mr. Saleh’s sister buzzed from the building’s lobby, another official said, prompting him to flee through the apartment’s back door and into a stairwell before the sister arrived.
The deceased was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents who eventually settled near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a small city on the Hudson River.
After graduating from Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., in 2009, he built an app called PrankDial that allowed users to send prerecorded prank calls. Mr. Saleh said he eventually built PrankDial into a $10 million business.
He went on to found Pathao, a motorcycle ride-sharing start-up in Bangladesh. He left that company in 2018 to begin a similar venture in Nigeria, an app known as Gokada.
At the time of his death, Saleh was the chief executive of Gokada and oversaw a shift in its business during a turbulent time. In February, Nigerian officials began enforcing a ban on motorcycle taxis in major commercial and residential parts of the country’s largest city, Lagos.
Gokada was forced to halt its ride-hailing business and laid workers off, but Mr. Saleh pivoted the company to focus on food and parcel delivery and business logistics.
He was also the founding partner in a Manhattan-based venture capital fund, Adventure Capital, that invested in similar transit start-ups in Colombia and Bangladesh.