A warrant for Bikram Yoga founder Bikram Choudhury’s arrest was issued today by a Los Angeles judge who has reportedly fled the country without paying a penny of the millions of dollars he owes to Minakshi Jafa-Bodden for a sexual harassment lawsuit.
In January 2016, Jafa-Bodden alleged that Choudhury repeatedly sexually harassed her during her time as his employee and fired her after she began to investigate claims that he had raped one of his yoga students. Jafa-Bodden was the general counsel for Choudhury’s Yoga College of India. People reports that out of the $7 million owed to Jafa-Bodden for the sexual harassment suit, Choudhury has paid exactly zero dollars, choosing instead to hide his assets and hightail it out of the country.
Jafa-Bodden’s lawyer, Carla Minnard, also filed a fraudulent transfer lawsuit against Choudhury’s wife and his children, who have allegedly “assisted him in hiding, absconding with and attempting to dispose of assets.” The New York Daily News reports that Minnard has tracked various luxury vehicles and other items Choudhury has moved out of state and a court order preventing him from moving any of his other possessions out of warehouses in Florida and Nevada has been issued.
Throughout the entire legal battle Choudhury, has staunchly maintained his innocence. An in-depth look at the case from The Guardian paints a clearer picture: Speaking to a journalist from HBO’s Real Sports in October 2015, Choudhury said “Why do I have to harass women? People spend $1m for one drop of my sperm. Are you that dumb to believe those trash?” before comparing yoga to cocaine.
Speaking to the Guardian about why no one involved ever stood up to Choudhury despite the things he said and did, Jafa-Bodden said “Their livelihood depends on putting up with it. The problem was that Bikram had set things up in such a way that, without his continued patronage, you can’t teach anywhere else. So some of his victims would come back to his training and just try to take precautions.”