Did Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu financially abandon his wife Pramila and son?

Sridhar Vembu, a co-founder of Zoho, has been accused by his wife of secretly selling some of his firm’s stock and giving it to his sister and brother-in-law.

Sridhar, who is the CEO of the $5 billion software development company Zoho, and his wife Pramila Srinivasan are in the midst of a divorce.

The couple had been living in California, US for approximately 25 years before Sridhar’s decision to return to Tamil Nadu in early 2020.

In August 2021, Sridhar filed for divorce in California. According to court documents filed by Pramila, Vembu is alleged to have transferred Zoho’s intellectual property to India through a complicated arrangement, these allegations were reported by Forbes.

Srinivasan, in a court document filed in January, claimed that Vembu had intentionally transferred a significant portion of his Zoho stake to his sister and brother-in-law in a complex transaction without her knowledge or approval.

She alleged that he had violated community property law in California by disposing of joint assets without her consent. Srinivasan’s lawyer stated that joint assets require openness and transparency between spouses, and attempting to circumvent the 50-50 ownership requirement through covert actions is not permissible.

In December 2011, Vembu and his brother-in-law Dandapani established Zoho Corporation Private Limited in India, according to Forbes. However, Vembu’s attorneys have refuted the claim that he held 43 per cent of the new firm, stating that he has only ever held 5 per cent in the India-based business.

Vembu has denied these allegations on Twitter, stating that he has never transferred his shares in the company to anyone else and that Srinivasan’s claims are unfounded. He also affirmed that he has always provided financial support to Srinivasan and their son.

Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu tweeted

“My firm shares were never given to anyone else by me. In our 27-year existence, I spent the first 24 years of my life in the US, and a large portion of the company’s foundation was created in India. The ownership reflects that “He tweeted.

“My wife Pramila and I were in this fight against autism for over 15 years. She is a super mom and her passionate cause is curing our son of autism. I worked hard along with her. To ensure his safety I also took some of his treatments so I could know what they did to him” he added.

He further wrote, “As our son got older (24 today) I felt the endless treatments he was under were not helping much and he would be better off in rural India, closer to loving people and helping to lift up people. She felt I was giving up. Our marriage collapsed under that stress.”

In a follow-up tweet, Mr Vembu wrote, “Unfortunately the end of our marriage brought a new conflict. She is making unfounded allegations in court about my ownership interest in Zoho Corp and she has chosen to go to the press too. The matter is in court in the US, my filings are public.”

Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu tweeted

Vembu has also disclosed that his uncle Ram, who had been disconnected from the family for many years, was instigating the allegations against him. A few years ago, Vembu had offered Ram to live with them in California due to his terminal cancer and lack of family support.

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