Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes believed in herself so much that she wrote in a text to Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, proclaiming that she had “complete confidence in me, the best business person in the world. ‘year”.
The message to her then-boyfriend and Theranos chairman Balwani is among thousands of private texts and Skype messages obtained by CNBC that show Holmes did not trust her and the company Theranos. of blood tests she founded. They also reveal that Holmes told Balwani to woo top investors who ended up giving Theranos hundreds of millions of dollars.
“My new life from tonight and forever: – complete confidence in myself, best businessman of the year – focus – excellence in details – don’t give what people think – engage employees in meetings through stories and getting talked about (i.e. prepare well), ”Holmes wrote to Balwani in November 2014 while discussing the full moon that night.
Ten minutes later, Holmes texted again: “No response?” Balwani replied, “Great. You listen and pay attention… ”
That same month, Holmes texted Balwani: “I just finished the calls. Alice Walton has 50. Confirmed 100 Greg.” She apparently refers to Alice Walton from Walmart Fame. Greg’s identity is unclear. The Walton family ultimately invested a total of $ 150 million in Theranos in 2014.
Balwani replied, “Great. I thought today. They are not investing in our business, they are investing in our destiny.” This turned out to be a worrying prediction given that Theranos closed in 2018 and the couple are now accused of orchestrating a multi-million dollar scheme to deceive investors and patients about Theranos.
Holmes and Balwani each face 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They both pleaded not guilty. Holmes’ trial began last month. Balwani will face a separate trial next year.
Minutes later, in the same texting channel, Holmes texted Balwani: “Rupert over 100,” referring to media mogul Rupert Murdoch who is among the top investors in Theranos. Murdoch has invested $ 125 million in the business.
“I can’t wait to hear more about the conversation with Rupert,” Balwani replied via text message. “Alright :)” said Holmes, adding “He would have met longer.”
CNBC contacted Walton and Murdoch. They did not respond. Some of Theranos’ investors are expected to testify at the trial.
The private messages, worth nearly 600 pages, run from June 2011 to July 2016. The texts also show details of the high-flying lifestyle Holmes and Balwani led while Theranos was bleed hundreds of millions of dollars, according to financial reports.
In March 2015, Holmes texted Balwani: “Mary Meeker is trying to convince me to stay private, collect huge $$$ and go and see bigger.”
Meeker is a well-known venture capitalist who is a partner of Bond Capital. She is famous in the tech industry for her annual internet trends report, a dozens of slide show covering the hottest trends for investors. Meeker did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
In an April 2015 group text, Holmes’ brother Christian texted her and Balwani about an upcoming trip to Las Vegas: or presidential $ 15,000, or even a junior 700 suite. $ with a view of the golf course. “
According to a source who worked at Theranos and was aware of the trip, the group was planning a weekend getaway. The employee recalled that this was an incredibly difficult time at the company with high-profile exits including the sudden departure of lab director Adam Rosendorff. It is not known if Theranos paid for the trip.
“People were disappearing and leaving without jobs, it was clear the business was at a standstill,” said the former Theranos employee. “It’s a huge red flag.”
In a series of SMS also from April 2015, Balwani seems to recognize the poorly planned trip. He texted Holmes, “The trip to Vegas is such a distraction. Bad timing. But the guys bought everything non-refundable. So we will. But I don’t want any distractions until we win. “
“So let’s focus on that in our bedroom, have dinner and get home early,” Holmes replied. “I never like distractions.”
Holmes continued with another text to Balwani on high-end bookings: “Dinner can try the French three Michelin stars in mgm – can just try all of the top nationally rated ones and see what we get,” she wrote.
In another exchange, Balwani said “I have a table at XS dance [floor]. “And a few minutes later, Balwani said to Holmes, ‘Get private security for you.’ ‘Private security? Holmes replied. “A dedicated security guy with us all night.
The problems inside Theranos were first exposed in October 2015 by John Carreyrou, then a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Text messages obtained by CNBC show discussions about Carreyrou between Balwani and Holmes.
Carreyrou had sought to interview Holmes and Balwani but neither agreed. Balwani wrote that he “didn’t have to meet someone who attacked me”.
Balwani’s attorney, Jeffrey Coopersmith, declined to comment. Holmes’ attorneys did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.