The New York Times is now reporting that a suspect is under arrest: Tyrese Devon Haspil, the personal assistant to Saleh. According to The Times, authorities believe the motive ties to an allege theft by Haspil of Saleh’s money. The newspaper reports that Saleh was letting Haspil pay the money back. Read more about Haspil here.
“We have a torso, a head that’s been removed, arms, and legs. Everything is still on the scene. We don’t have a motive,” NYPD spokesman Sergeant Carlos Nieves told The New York Daily News, which reported that the body was Saleh’s. According to the newspaper, a video may have captured a suit-wearing man entering an elevator with Saleh in the moments before he met with foul play.
His arms and legs were cut off with “surgical precision,” according to The New York Post, and then placed in bags. The newspaper quoted a source as describing the scene as “professional,” saying the assassin kept the blood in one corner in a “nearly perfect outline” around the body.
Friends told the Daily News that he seemed “happy-go-lucky” and not scared of anything. He had a long history of tech startups, including a prank dial app and site. A friend told ABC7: “I’ve never met anyone like him, he’s always on the go, extremely positive, uplifting, the glass is half full, just a really really, good friend who’s always always there for you.”
According to NBC New York, Saleh’s remains were discovered by his sister, who may have interrupted the killer because the electric saw was still plugged in. “Investigators believe the sister’s welfare check interrupted the dismemberment and the suspect slipped out of a service exit,” the television station reported, adding that the motive is believed to be financial and possibly relating to a business deal gone bad. The television station quoted a friend who called Saleh the “Elon Musk of the developing world.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Saleh’s ‘Limbless, Headless Torso’ Was Found Inside His Condo
The grisly discovery came July 14 in Manhattan, when police found the “limbless, headless torso” of Saleh inside his luxurious condo, according to The New York Daily News.
The newspaper reported that an electric saw was lying next to the remains. The condo is located on Manhattan’s lower east side on East Houston Street at Suffolk Street.
According to The Daily News, the police also found contractor bags nearby, but it’s not clear what was inside them, if anything. The newspaper reported that Saleh purchased the condo for $2.25 million last year. “His limbs and head were stuffed in bags in the living room,” ABC7 reported.
2. Saleh Was the CEO of a Motorcycle-Sharing Company in Lagos, Nigeria
On Twitter, Saleh described himself as, “CEO @gokadang. An investor that finds things. Founding Partner at Ad Capital.” His parents are from Bangladesh. According to Tech Crunch, the venture ran into trouble when Nigeria began regulating the motorcycle taxis, called okadas.
On LinkedIn, he wrote:
Fahim Saleh is the CEO and founder of Gokada, a motorcycle ridesharing company that has completed over one million rides since launching in 2018. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience. His first company in high school generated over one million dollars in revenue. After college, he taught himself how to program and started KickBack Apps, garnering over twenty-million downloads. Seeing an opportunity in his parent’s native country of Bangladesh, he went on to co-found the largest ride-sharing company in the country valued at over $100 million – Pathao. Fahim is also an active investor in emerging markets, investing first in Colombia’s largest motorcycle ridesharing company – Picap, recently valued at $15 million.
His last tweet, written on July 4, was a poll that read, “How trustworthy of a brand would you say Gokada is compared to other Nigerian companies?”
Daily News described Gokada as a motorcycle ride-sharing company in Lagos and Saleh as a “website developer turned venture capital.” The Gokada Twitter page says, “1000 Pilots to do your deliveries with that Gokada quality you know you can trust. Need we say more? Try your first delivery with us today.”
The newspaper reported that police went to check on Saleh after receiving a call from his sister.
3. A Video Shows a Man in a Suit With a Mask Getting Into an Elevator With Saleh, Who Had a Long History of Tech Startups, Local Media Reports
A surveillance video in an elevator may provide clues to the killer.
The video shows Saleh get into the elevator “followed quickly by a second man, dressed in a suit, wearing gloves, a hat and a mask over his face,” according to Daily News, adding that the man also had a suitcase and appeared “very professional.” The New York Post is alleging that the second man in the elevator was Haspil. According to The Times, it’s believed the killer stabbed Saleh after tasing him and then returned the next day to dismember the body.
Saleh fell when the elevator door opened, although it’s not clear why. ABC7 reported that there is video of Saleh with his “killer.”
The New York Post reported that the killer appeared to pretend to choose another elevator floor. Instead, he followed Saleh into his own apartment (the elevator opened directly into it.) The assassin was dressed all in black, according to The Post.
On LinkedIn, Saleh also listed himself as founding partner of Adventure Capital in New York, which he described as “finding good people, dodging oncoming traffic, and building value.”
He was CEO for five years of KickBack Apps, an entertainment-focused app company. Current apps were listed as “PrankDial, PrankPad, Textr.”
He was a member of YEC for two years, and was a founder and investor for Pathao, in Bangladesh. He described that as “the most well-funded startup in Bangladesh, recently valued at over $100 million.” He said it was “attacking multiple verticals including transportation, food, delivery, and payments.”
Saleh was founding manager of HackHouse, a “tech incubator/venture factory focused in Bangladesh” and was CEO of TapFury, developing “the finest prank calling app ever – PrankDial.” He was vice president of WizTeen, a “network of websites targeted towards teenagers.” His bachelor’s degree was in CIS from Bentley University.
A man who gave him a recommendation on Linkedin wrote, “Fahim Saleh is one of the brightest young entrepreneurs I have ever met and worked with. Fahim is constantly challenging the status quo by creating new ventures and continually brainstorming innovative business models. I had the pleasure of launching a company with Fahim while at Bentley University and couldn’t have met a better business partner at the time. I highly recommend Fahim for anything tech, entrepreneurial, or business development related.”
4. Saleh Once Created a Prank Website That He Said Brought in $10 Million
In a post on Medium, Saleh described how he got his start. “I graduated from Bentley University in 2009, into the tough job market created by the economic recession,” he wrote.
“Pursuing big city life, I applied to several companies in New York City (choice A) and Boston (choice B), primarily. But the only offer I got was from a company in a small town outside Boston. While the location was not what I was looking for, I knew I’d probably have to take it if a better prospect didn’t present itself soon.”
In high school, he wrote, he had “started a social network for teens, teenhangout.com, and a website that offered free AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) buddy icons, or avatars.” Soon, they were bringing in $200,000 a year but then competition made that dwindle, he wrote.
He had always loved pranks growing up, and so that hatched an idea. “And even as I grew up, my passion for a well-executed prank remained. Figuring I might want it for a potential future project, I nabbed the domain PrankDial.com around the same time that I was creating teenhangout.com and other sites,” he wrote.
Saleh created the prank site, and it took off. “I recorded a few prank call MP3s in varying voices, uploaded them, and created a system that let a user pick the prank call scenario they wanted, then call a friend with it by entering their friend’s phone number. From there, I simply spread the word across a few websites, and watched it gain traction,” he wrote, claiming that the venture brought in $10 million over time. An app was created for it.
“That’s created the opportunity for me to pursue other ventures, like founding the venture firm Adventure Capital, which invests in startups in the developing world,” he said of the prank site’s success.
Saleh was sued by a former New Jersey jail deputy director, Kirk Eady, who alleged he was misled that Saleh’s prank site was legal, Daily News reported, noting that the site allowed a person to listen into a conversation between two other people. Eady received 21 months in prison after being accused of illegally wiretapping two subordinates.
5. Saleh Recently Tweeted, ‘Have a Very Good Feeling About 2020’
One recent tweet by Saleh is now somewhat eerie.
A YouTube video he posted says, “Gokada. Get ready for a fresh experience in managing your deliveries.”
He sometimes shared his business philosophies on Twitter.
On July 2, he wrote, “Nigeria is an unforgiving market. Focus obsessively – less is more. Have integrity. Build trust. Be patient. The market will reward you in time.” On June 29, he tweeted, “Any good product people in Lagos that want to build out Gsend or Gokada Business?”
In June, he wrote, “tech mantra: get rid of the middlemen” and “If you’re rich and believe income inequality is a real problem, tip everyone 100%.”
He also wrote, “As an entrepreneur, changes in behavior are something you must be cognizant of and adapt to. With #COVID19Pandemic there are temp changes and ones that will sustain post-crisis. An astute #entreprenuer would identify those lasting changes and execute. Are you paying attention?”
“Nigeria is like the gravity room equivalent of training to be an entrepreneur. #nerdjokes,” he added.