NEW YORK – A personal assistant arrested Friday in the death and dismemberment of a 33-year-old tech entrepreneur was believed to have owed his boss a “significant amount of money,” New York City police said.
Tyrese Haspil faces a murder charge in the death of Fahim Saleh, whose beheaded, armless body was found Tuesday by a cousin who had gone to his luxury Manhattan condo to check on him.
Haspil, 21, handled finances and personal matters for Saleh, whose ventures included a ride-hailing service in Africa.
Haspil, who grew up on Long Island and lives in Brooklyn, was taken into police custody Friday morning in the lobby of another luxury apartment building several blocks from where Saleh was killed, NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said.
Information on Haspil's arraignment and a lawyer who could speak on his behalf was not immediately available.
Officers responding to the cousin's 911 call discovered Saleh’s clothed torso, bags containing a head and arms and an electric saw in the living room of his luxury seventh-floor apartment on the Lower East Side, police said.
Investigators recovered security video showing Saleh exiting an elevator that leads directly into the full-floor, two-bedroom apartment, closely followed by a masked person dressed entirely in black, according to a law enforcement official who was briefed on the case.
The video also showed a struggle between the two that ensued at the entrance to the apartment, said the official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Harrison said investigators determined that Haspil assaulted Saleh in the elevator with a stun gun a day before his body was found. Speaking to reporters about the arrest, Harrison would not say when police believe Saleh was killed, nor would he discuss other details about the case or take questions.
Investigators initially believed that the cousin who went to check on Saleh may have interrupted the attack and that the assailant fled out a back exit. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide after an autopsy found the cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the body.
Saleh was the chief executive officer of ride-hailing motorcycle startup Gokada that started operating in Nigeria in 2018.
Saleh's LinkedIn biography described him as a self-taught businessman who founded Gokada, building on his experience of first “seeing an opportunity in his parent’s native country of Bangladesh” and starting that country's largest ride-sharing company. It said he also invested in a similar venture in Colombia.
“The headlines talk about a crime we still cannot fathom,” Saleh’s family said in a statement after his death. “Fahim is more than what you are reading. He is so much more. His brilliant and innovative mind took everyone who was a part of his world on a journey and he made sure never to leave anyone behind.”
Apartments in the 10-story building where Saleh's remains were found sell for more than $2 million. The building was completed in 2017 as part of a wave of gentrification in the neighborhood.
Associated Press writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.
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