Sundar Pichai testifies in $600 million financial fraud case, Ozy Media acquisition questioned

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in a fraud case going on against Ozy Media co-founder Carlos Watson. It denied any intention to buy the startup amid allegations of financial fraud and false claims of Google's interest. In this scam, Ozy's COO Sameer Rao presented himself as a YouTube executive.

Jun 15, 2024 - 18:15
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Sundar Pichai testifies in $600 million financial fraud case, Ozy Media acquisition questioned

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, testified in an ongoing fraud case against Ozy Media co-founder Carlos Watson. Pichai's testimony directly challenged Watson's claims that Google was interested in acquiring Ozy.

Watson is accused of deceiving investors by exaggerating Ozy's commercial success. A central element of this scheme also included falsely claiming Google's intention to buy Ozy for 'hundreds of millions of dollars'.

Ozy, a well-known media firm, fell once previously when the New York Times disclosed that COO Sameer Rao posed as a top YouTube official during a conversation with Goldman Sachs financiers. The move was part of Watson and Rao's attempt to deceive investors into believing Ozy was a lucrative business.

While Google never contemplated acquiring Ozy, Pichai did confess to considering Watson for the leadership position in news programming. The hiring could result in a $25 million investment in Ozy, although it is not being marketed as an acquisition bid.

During questioning by prosecutor Dylan Stern, Pichai flatly denied offering $600 million to buy Ozy Media.

According to prosecutors, Watson used Google's fabricated offer to lure another investor after the Goldman Sachs deal fell through.

Stern said Watson found another victim and enticed them to invest $20 million in Ozy by telling them that Google's CEO himself had offered to buy Ozy for hundreds of millions of dollars. That was a lie. But Watson didn't let the truth get in his way.

Despite Watson's alleged claims of a close relationship with the Google CEO, Pichai said they only met twice. The case underscores the damaging consequences of investor fraud and the importance of ethical business practices. The trial is currently ongoing as the court evaluates evidence presented by both sides.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer