Federal authorities are reportedly investigating Mithril Capital, a venture capital firm cofounded by millionaire investor and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, over allegations of “financial misconduct.”
Recode reported Thursday that the FBI and other US officials have been looking into Mithril Capital, including conducting interviews with people close to the firm, “in recent months.” The investigation is just the latest issue for Mithril, which Recode reported earlier this year has devolved into a “slow-burning mess” over questions how money is being invested.
The FBI and Mithril Capital did not respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment. However, a Mithril spokesperson told Recode that the federal investigation is “a foiled plot by a self-serving ex-employee.”
Thiel is no longer involved in Mithril’s day-to-day operations, but has reportedly given around $300 million of his own money to the firm.
Read more: The life and rise of billionaire investor Peter Thiel, the PayPal cofounder who called Google ‘seemingly treasonous,’ wants to get injections of young people’s blood, and is Trump’s biggest Silicon Valley supporter
The investment firm is run by cofounder Ajay Royan, and reportedly has more than $1.2 billion in assets under management. Former employees and investors told Recode back in February they were concerned that Royan and Mithril were not investing investor money in startups, and were instead sitting on the money.
At the same time, Royan — who reportedly told people he has 100% control of Mithril — has been collecting management fees while investor money remains un-invested. A Thiel spokesperson told Recode earlier this year that he was “proud” of Royan’s leadership.
Mithril is also said to have had issues internally. Several employees, including two managing directors, have reportedly left the company in recent months, and the firm has shrunk to a “bare-bones” operation, according to Recode.
Additionally, investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates is also looking into Mithril over financial “mismanagement,” Recode reported. Cambridge Associates has given millions of its clients’ funds to Mithril to manage, and clients are reportedly frustrated by Mithril’s antics.
Thiel is viewed as one of the most successful venture capitalists in the tech industry. He cofounded online-payment giant PayPal and big-data company Palantir. He was one of the earliest investors in Facebook, and now sits on its board. Thiel is also an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump and a critic of left-leaning viewpoints.
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