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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum Apologizes for '96 Restraining-Order Incident

The Facebook board member regrets his behavior involving his ex-girlfriend.

Asa Mathat

WhatsApp CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum released a statement Monday apologizing for past behavior that resulted in a restraining order issued on behalf of an ex-girlfriend in Santa Clara, Calif., in 1996.

Koum, 38, was 19 years old when he allegedly stalked and harassed the woman, leading her to change her phone number and drop out of community college. Court documents regarding the case were obtained and first reported by Bloomberg.

Here’s Koum’s statement:

“I am deeply sorry for what I did. I am also sorry that her identity may now be made public, and for any issues revisiting this history may cause her.

Over the years, I have thought a lot about that difficult period of my life. I have many regrets and things I wish I could go back and change, but I have also worked hard and tried to improve myself. I have tried to be a good partner and a good friend. I have great remorse about that episode, but I learned a lot and can honestly say that what happened almost 20 years ago does not accurately reflect the person I am today.”

It’s unclear whether or not Facebook was aware of the incident before acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion in February. A Facebook spokesperson would not comment on whether the company was aware of the restraining order, or how Koum was vetted ahead of the acquisition.

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