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Vungle CEO charged with sexually abusing his three-year-old son, assault with a deadly weapon

International Business Times logo International Business Times 22/10/2017 Hyacinth Mascarenhas

Vungle CEO © Vungle Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer, CEO of rising mobile ad tech startup Vungle was arrested on a litany of charges on Tuesday including felony assault, sexually abusing his three-year-old son, a lewd act upon a child and other related charges. His arrest, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, was confirmed via the San Mateo County inmate locator on Friday.

He was removed from his position on Thursday and has been replaced by Rick Tallman, previously COO and CFO of Vungle.

Jaffer has been charged with child abuse, a lewd act upon a child, oral copulation with a person under 14 years old, assault with a deadly weapon and battery upon an officer and emergency personnel. His one-year-old daughter is also reportedly an alleged victim of the child abuse charge.

The 29-year-old was also initially charged with attempted murder, but the charge was later dropped because "evidence did not show an intent to kill," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told TechCrunch.

Police arrested Jaffer on 15 October at about 4AM at his family's house in Hillsborough, about 18 miles south of San Francisco after they were called to the house by his father, Wagstaffe said, Forbes reported. Officers found Jaffer engaged in the illegal contact with the minors, resisted arrest and spit at an officer who was trying to detain him.

He is currently being held on $300,000 bail at the Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California with his next court date scheduled for 1 November. Jaffer's attorney Daniel Olmos told SFGate that his client has pleaded not guilty.

"We are aware of the extremely serious allegations leveled against our former CEO, and we are shocked beyond words," Tallman said in a statement. "While these charges are completely unrelated to his former role at the company, they are obviously so serious that it led to his immediate removal.

"We learned of the allegations late Monday night, and convened a board meeting, removed him as CEO and I was appointed permanent CEO all within 24 hours. He did not step down for personal reasons as has been erroneously reported. We removed him as rapidly as possible.

"The actions of one individual are in no way reflective of the almost 200 dedicated and hard-working people who work for Vungle. Everyone at the company is appalled and deeply saddened by these events."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Jaffer studied at King's College London, London Business School and University College London and was previously CEO of Mediaroots and CyberPlanet. He founded the San Francisco-based video ad platform Vungle in 2011.

In February, Jaffer said the company hit a $300m revenue run rate. The firm previously raised funding from investors that include Crosslink Capital, GV (previously known as Google Ventures), 500 Startups, SoftTech VC and Thomvest Ventures.

"We are horrified by the news about Zain Jaffer and unequivocally condemn such behavior," GV CEO David Krane said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to the many people affected, particularly Zain Jaffer's family and the Vungle team."

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