The New York County District Attorney’s Office just sent out an email regarding the pending case against two executives from Klarna, a Swedish e-commerce payments startup with $166 million in venture capital financing from prominent American investors. This past Saturday, Klarna cofounder and COO Niklas Adalberth and Jens Saltin, the company’s vice president of sales in the Netherlands, were arrested for allegedly molesting a 19-year-old woman from Texas at the W Hotel in Midtown.
Both men, who have taken temporarily leave at Klarna, were released on $10,000 bail. According to the DA’s report, Mr. Adalberth and Mr. Saltin were called before Judge Anthony Ferrara in Manhattan Criminal Court today and appeared with their attorneys:
· Prosecutors stated on the record that there was no grand jury action at this time and requested an adjournment.
· DC consented and requested a short adjournment.
· Judge adjourned (or scheduled) case for Friday, 2/24/12 in Part F for Control.
The lack of grand jury action is not unusual. Typically, the DA’s office asks for more time and the defense grants it. Since both defendants are out of bail, rather than in custody, it affords the DA’s office more flexibility.
In the original complaint against Mr. Adalberth and Mr. Saltin, both men were accused of one alleged count of “sexual abuse in the first degree.” The complaint also alleges that Mr. Adalberth straddled the informant, both defendants removed her clothes, and that Mr. Adalberth “grabbed [the] informant’s breast.”
After its latest round of funding, a $155 million pre-IPO round from General Atlantic and Yuri Milner’s Digital Sky Technologies, Klarna’s valuation was reportedly approaching $1 billion. Sequoia Partners’ Michael Moritz also sits on Klarna’s board.
UPDATE: During the court appearance earlier today, the New York Daily News reports that defense attorney Andrea Zellan told the judge, “Your honor, the DA’s office is working very quickly on an investigation. I believe that at the end of that investigation that the charges will be dropped.”
Ms. Zellan works for Brafman & Associates, the firm helmed by renowned criminal defense attorney Benjamin Brafman, who notably represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn during somewhat similar sexual assault allegations at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown, which were ultimately dismissed.
According to the Daily News, Ms. Zellan maintained her clients’s innocence:
“The charges against both men are based on completely false allegations,” Zellan said after court. “Neither of the men accused did anything inappropriate, and they certainly did not commit a crime.”
Betabeat has been trying to reach Ms. Zellan since Wednesday and will update you when we hear back.