The CEO of Safr, a local ride-sharing app aimed at women, was arrested Friday as a fugitive from justice on warrants out of the Virgin Islands.
Syed Zain Gilani, 43, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment and is scheduled to return to court on July 7, which he is expected to waive rendition and be returned to the Virgin Islands.
According to the Boston Globe, Gilani faces charges that he defrauded the government of over $2 million.
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His lawyer, Eoin Beirne, said the charges stem from a 2011 contract dispute involving one of his companies in the Virgin Islands. "He vehemently denies any wrongdoing and is looking forward to the opportunity to challenge any such allegation," Beirne said.
Dana Córdova, Chief Marketing Officer of Safr, released a statement in Gilani's defense:
"He is such a passionate believer in the Safr mission for which we are all very grateful. We fully support him, including any time he needs to deal with this legal matter. During those times, Chief Financial Officer Craig Gainsboro will be responsible for day to day operations," Córdova said. "Safr continues to operate, unabated, as it fills the vital needs of safe transportation and job opportunities for women in the ridesharing industry."
Safr launched earlier this year and accommodates rides that originate in Boston, Cambridge and Brookline. The service is focused on women and places an emphasis on safety.