The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has dismissed sexual assault charges against Niklas Adalberth and Jens Saltin for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old girl at the W Hotel in Midtown. Both men work as executives for the Swedish startup Klarna, which has venture capital backing from powerful American investors, including Sequoia Capital, and a valuation rumored to be near $1 billion.
No official statement was released, but in Manhattan Criminal Court today, where both defendants appeared after an adjournment earlier this month, Assistant District Attorney David Smith said the following: “After conducting a thorough investigation that included but was not limited to interviewing relevant witnesses, viewing surveillance video and other hotel records and speaking extensively with the complainant we have concluded that we cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Defense attorney Andrea Zellan, whose firm Branfman & Associates also represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a similar sexual assault case where charges were also dismissed, emailed the following statement to Betabeat regarding the case:
“We are obviously delighted that the District Attorney of New York County has agreed to dismiss all charges against our clients. We have maintained from the outset that this case was based on a single, false and entirely baseless allegation that was not corroborated by any forensic, scientific, video or other witness testimony. Simply put, these two men with impeccable backgrounds did nothing wrong, did not violate the law and should never have been arrested in the first place.
Now that the charges have been dismissed and the records sealed, Messrs. Adalberth and Saltin plan on returning to Sweden, back to the brilliant careers they were enjoying before this unfortunate episode began.”
Both. Mr. Adalberth and Mr. Saltin, who were out on $10,000 bail, had taken a leave of absence during their legal trouble. But by email Klarna offered a similar statement of vindication:
“As we have been expecting all along, the accusations brought against our employees have now been proven entirely unfounded and all charges have been dismissed. Our employees did nothing wrong, did not break any law and should thus never have ended up in this very unfortunate situation. We now leave this incident behind us and welcome back our employees to their central roles within the company.”
Mr. Adalberth, a former economics student, is Klarna’s COO and one of three co-founders. Mr. Saltin, a former Goldman Sachs intern, is Klarna’s vice president of sales in the Netherlands.