Rajeev Misra, the head of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, has been accused of a sensational plot to blackmail SoftBank’s then-president in 2015. According to a Wall Street Journal exposé, Misra planned to sabotage Nikesh Arora’s premiership by luring him into a “honey trap” before threatening him with compromising sexual images.
The report adds that Misra undertook a “dark arts campaign” against other SoftBank executives he believed stood between him and the Vision Fund’s leadership. The London-born banker won his current position in May 2017, and became a SoftBank board director soon after.
Misra’s plot to topple Arora involved hiring an intermediary to entice Arora back to a Tokyo hotel room with several women, where cameras would be waiting to record compromising material with which to pressure him. Arora didn’t go to the room. He left SoftBank in 2018 to become CEO and chairman of Palo Alto Networks.
Furthermore, Misra’s campaign included the hiring of businessman to place negative stories about colleagues in the media, and trying to force shareholders to fire them. A company spokesperson told media SoftBank has been investigating disinformation targeting its executives for “several years,” but stopped short of accusing Misra.
Misra’s leadership of the $100 billion Vision Fund has included some of its most ambitious—and questionable—investments. Huge injections into profit-less firms like Uber and WeWork have piled pressure on the company. CEO
Masayoshi Son admitted he shut his eyes when SoftBank lost almost $5bn to WeWork’s dramatic collapse late last year. “My own investment judgment was really bad,” he told press conference attendees. “I regret it in many ways.”