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Former Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer. Screengrab via vungle.com

Zain Jaffer is currently in a Silicon Valley jail cell, after being arrested for sexual assault of a child and attempted murder. He also has been put on indefinite leave as CEO of Vungle, the mobile video ad company that he founded in 2011.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's website shows that 29 year-old Jaffer was initially booked with felony charges for attempted murder, a lewd act on a child, oral copulation of a person under 14, child abuse, assault with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge for battery upon an officer and emergency personnel. The attempted murder charge has since been dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Vungle did not initially issue a comment on Jaffer's arrest, except to say he has been suspended for personal reasons not having to do with the company. It has since issued the following statement:

"While we do not have any information that is not in the public record at this point, these are extremely serious allegations, and we are shocked beyond words. While these are only preliminary charges, they are obviously so serious that it led to the immediate removal of Mr. Jaffer from any operational responsibility at the company. The company stressed that this matter has nothing to do with Mr. Jaffer's former role at the company."

New CEO Rick Tallman later added in a statement that the company learned of the allegations late Monday night and convened a board meeting to remove Jaffer as CEO within 24 hours.

Record: Jaffer was arrested on Sunday and arraigned on Tuesday, according to Forbes, and his next court date is November 1. He is currently being held on bail at the Maple Street Correctional Center in Redwood City, California.

"Mr. Jaffer had pleaded not guilty and had no public comment at this time," Jaffer's attorney, Daniel Olmos, told Axios via email.

Investors: The San Francisco-based company has raised over $25 million in VC funding from firms like Google Ventures, Thomvest Ventures, Crosslink Capital, SoftTech VC and 500 Startups. Investors not represented on the board were informed yesterday of the CEO switch, but not of Jaffer's arrest. Google Ventures CEO David Krane provided the following statement:

"We are horrified by the news about Zain Jaffer and unequivocally condemn such behavior. Our hearts go out to the many people affected, particularly Zain Jaffer's family and the Vungle team."

The story has been updated with an updated timeline of events, and additional details and statements from Vungle and Jaffer's attorney. The headline has also been updated to reflect that the charge for attempted murder has since been dropped.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

9 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

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