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Google CEO Sundar Pichai to testify in $600 million financial fraud case

Google CEO Sundar Pichai to testify in 0 million financial fraud case


Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc, has reportedly testified as a witness in the fraud trial of Ozy Media Inc co-founder Carlos Watson. Bloomberg reports that Pichai testified that the search giant never intended to acquire the startup for any amount of money. During the fraud trial, Pichai denied any plans for Google to acquire the startup. Ozy Media co-founder Carlos Watson is accused of misleading investors about the company's financial situation and falsely claiming that Google was interested in acquiring Ozy. The scandal surfaced when it was revealed that Ozy's COO Samir Rao impersonated a YouTube executive during a conference call with Goldman Sachs, leading to the company's downfall. Rao pleaded guilty and claimed that the scheme was an attempt to mislead investors about Ozy's profitability.

What Sundar Pichai said in court

Pichai told jurors in federal court in Brooklyn, New York that the Ozzie acquisition was never discussed, but that Google had considered hiring Watson to head its news programming. The $25 million investment in Ozzie would have been part of that deal. “Watson was a key part of Ozzie Media and we were considering investing in the company to ease the transition,” Pichai explained. “But did we ever propose to buy Ozzie Media for $600 million?” prosecutor Dylan Stern asked. Pichai answered, “No.” He said he was introduced to Watson at a meeting and then had a video interview for a job at Google that might involve working with news media. In the end, neither the hire nor the $25 million investment materialized. This contradicts the claims Watson used to extract a $20 million investment from another party after the deal with Goldman Sachs fell apart. Pichai said he only met with Watson twice, once briefly at a meeting and once for a job interview that did not result in a hire.

What caused Ozy Media's collapse?

Ozzi Media, a once-thriving media startup, collapsed after The New York Times reported in 2021 that Chief Operating Officer Samir Rao had impersonated YouTube executive Alex Piper on a conference call with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers.




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