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Former Tradeshift CEO faces further allegations of sexual assault against assistant

The B2B payments fintech fired its CEO two months ago over “serious allegations of sexual assault and harassment”

Christian Lanng

Christian Lanng/Tradeshift

The former CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based fintech Tradeshift has been accused of subjecting his former executive assistant to years of “sexual abuse, torture and assault”.

Christian Lanng was fired from the Danish fintech two months ago amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and in a new lawsuit has been accused of enslaving his assistant, sending her into a “dark abyss of unwanted sexual horror”.

A woman identified as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit is suing both Lanng and the HSBC-backed fintech, claiming that within months of being hired, she was coerced into signing a “slave contract”.

The lawsuit alleges years of rape, sexual abuse, torture and assault followed, with court documents stating that she was sexually trafficked under the guise of business trips.

The plaintiff also claims in the lawsuit that she was fired in May 2020 after complaining to the company’s human resources team, co-founders and board members “about the rape, sexual abuse, torture and assault she was suffering at the hands” of Laang under the “slave contract”.

Lanng, who is currently chairman and ‘chief visionary’ at Beyond Work, a “human-AI work platform”, according to his LinkedIn profile, has denied the accusations in the lawsuit against him.

He has not disputed the existence of the “slave contract” but claims he and “Doe” were in a “consensual sexual relationship” before he hired her.

“The shocking and vile claims in the lawsuit are categorically false, and I reject allegations that I subjected someone to any form of abuse during my tenure as CEO or at any other time of my life,” Lanng said in a statement.

He said their relationship ended eight months after she joined the company and called his decision to hire someone he was dating a “grave error of judgment”.

Lanng said his accuser worked at Tradeshift for five years after their relationship ended and left when her role was eliminated in a round of layoffs.

He described her accusations as a “cynical and callous affront to victims of sexual violence and human trafficking”.

In a statement to Business Insider, the plaintiff’s attorneys wrote, “In what world is a slave contract between a CEO and his employee remotely consensual? That Lanng is misrepresenting timelines and duration of the abuse to excuse his behavior is truly reprehensible.”

“Our client entirely rejects the notion that she had a 'consensual' slave relationship with her boss,” they wrote. “As if the allegations are not horrific enough, the corporate coverup and malfeasance as alleged in the complaint takes this tragedy to another sick level. We look forward to setting forth all the facts in the course of discovery and litigation.”

According to Business Insider, the attorneys said their client started working at Tradeshift in January 2014 and the “slave contract” began in April of that year.

The plaintiff also named Tradeshift as a defendant in the lawsuit, saying Lanng’s treatment was “known by and tacitly approved of” by other founders and the board of directors.

“As a co-founder and CEO of Tradeshift for more than a decade, I want to be very clear: Tradeshift never condoned or concealed sexual harassment claims,” Lanng said in a statement.

Christian Lanng and Tradeshift did not reply to AltFi’s request for comment at the time of publication.

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