MANHATTAN, NY – Bed Bath & Beyond Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Gustavo Arnal, leapt to his death Friday from a Tribeca, New York skyscraper amid the retail company’s difficult financial troubles and allegations of stock fraud directed at him personally.
Arnal, 52, jumped from his apartment located on the 18th floor of the “Jenga Building” in a move that has been officially ruled by the Medical Examiner’s Office as a suicide on Monday, which attributed the cause of death to “multiple blunt trauma.”
At the time of his death, Arnal faced accusations of participating in a $1.2 billion “pump-and-dump” stock fraud scheme, as per a class-action lawsuit filed in August.
According to the lawsuit, Arnal was approached by GameStop Chairman Ryan Cohen – a majority shareholder in Bed Bath & Beyond – who had concocted a scheme to acquire a sizable amount of the company’s publicly available shares in order to artificially inflate Bed Bath & Beyond’s value.
“With control over a significant portion of the public float, Cohen would essentially act as a price support for the stock while Gustavo would act in a similar capacity by controlling the sale of shares by Insiders,” the lawsuit said. “Under this arrangement, defendants would profit handsomely from the rise in price and could coordinate their selling of shares to optimize their returns.”
In addition, the late CFO was dealing with the financial woes that Bed Bath & Beyond has been experiencing as of late; just days before he killed himself, the chain had issued an announcement that it would be closing 150 stores and laying off approximately 20 percent of employees, both at the retail and corporate levels.