Singapore-based Zilingo is said to have suspended its Chief Executive Officer Ankiti Bose after its plan to raise fresh funding led to questions related to the firm’s accounting, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Zilingo had been trying to raise $150 million to $200 million with help from Goldman Sachs Group Inc when investors began to question its finances as part of the due diligence process, the people reportedly said. The talks, which could have boosted Zilingo’s valuation to more than $1 billion, stalled, they added.

Founded in 2015, Zilingo is a B2B technology platform that powers the global apparel supply chain with innovative solutions for production, sourcing and trade, according to its website. The firm’s investors include Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India.

The startup’s investors have started an investigation into the financial practices, the people added. Zilingo’s auditor has raised questions about its accounting. According to the report, the concerns center on the way that Zilingo accounted for transactions and revenue across a platform spanning thousands of small merchants. Regulators also said had not filed annual financial statements since 2019.

Bose has disputed allegations of wrongdoing and contends her suspension was due in part to her complaints about harassment, two people close to the matter told Bloomberg. She has hired an attorney to represent her, Abraham Vergis of Providence Law Asia, and has called the investigation a “witch hunt”, according to correspondence reviewed by Bloomberg.

Both Bose and her lawyer declined to comment. Temasek declined to comment, the report added. Zilingo declined to respond to TechNode Global‘s query.

On March 31, Bose was called to a meeting and told about “serious” complaints about discrepancies in accounts and mismanagement, according to the correspondence reviewed by Bloomberg. She was later questioned by two people from Kroll, the investigations firm. Her suspension is scheduled to run until May 5, according to the report.

Through her lawyer, Bose has argued that the directors “did not follow proper procedures during the process and questioned their right to suspend her”, according to the correspondence from the attorney to Zilingo.

“We are of the view that our client’s suspension has been procured by invalid and defective means; that the investigation commenced into her is unfair and lacking in due process, and that she has been suspended without proper and reasonable cause,” her attorney wrote.

According to Bloomberg, Zilingo faced growth troubles after pandemic-fueled restrictions forced many small businesses to shut their doors. Zilingo said it cut a number of jobs in 2020 and downsized some of its teams in the US, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia.

It was reported in February the company is seeking to raise $150 million to $200 million.

In early 2019, Zilingo raised $226 million from investors including Sequoia and Temasek, and pushed its valuation to $970 million, near to the $1 billion mark where startups can earn a “unicorn” status.

Temasek-backed Zilingo seeks to raise $150M-$200M – report