When you strike a chord with celebrities and mainstays in society, you need the right jewelry. And former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes had some of the best.
So when Holmes billed a $ 2,000 item in a jewelry store for Theranos, it wasn’t normal. Except Han Spivey, the man who handled finances at Theranos for over a decade, started asking questions.
Spivey, also known as Dennis Yam, was the first witness the government called in the Holmes fraud trial on Wednesday. Lawyers for Holmes are asking the judge to prevent Spivey from declaring that Holmes used corporate funds to make extravagant purchases, according to a court file.
Spivey worked at Theranos from 2006 to 2017. In an interview with federal prosecutors in July, she “asked Holmes about a $ 2,000 jewelry store purchase and why Theranos should pay for it,” according to a court record.
Holmes had a six-figure salary and a stake in blood testing startup Theranos, which was valued at $ 4.5 billion. The details of his lavish lifestyle and whether his assets and benefits as CEO are relevant to jurors has been a controversial battle.
According to the new filing, “Holmes will charge Theranos travel expenses to include private jet flights, and Spyway will have to ask Holmes for permission to pay the private jet company.” “Theranos will also pay Holmes ‘hotel bills, Theranos did not have a budget for Holmes’ travel expenses, in fact Theranos did not have a budget.”
Once hailed as a billionaire on paper, Holmes was often seen as the driver with plenty of safety details. The former employee remembers that when she wasn’t a driver, she drove her own car, the latest Range Rover.
Holmes stayed in luxury hotels and relied on several assistants paid by Theranos to manage her lavish shopping spree: interior design, jewelry, clothing and groceries.
The former CFO on Wednesday pointed to a period in 2009 when she said the company struggled to create a payroll for vendors and had to “choose” who to pay. Spivey said he took out a loan backed by Sunny Balwani, former Theranos chairman and Holmes’ lover.
In May, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila ruled he would allow prosecutors to show that Holmes enjoyed a lifestyle comparable to other CEOs in Silicon Valley. He pacified the decision by banning specific purchases and references to brands. Davila said he would consider the latest request during Spivey’s testimony, which resumes on Friday.