Lawsuit Accuses Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin of Hiding Wealth From Wife, Running 'Sex Ring'

Android co-creator Andy Rubin in 2011.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Court documents from a civil complaint brought by disgraced former Google executive Andy Rubin’s estranged spouse, Rie Hirabaru Rubin, and obtained by BuzzFeed News, claim that Rubin left Google after an “inappropriate relationship” with a subordinate, hid his fortune from his ex-wife, and engaged in disturbing extramarital behavior including running a “sex ring.”

Rubin, who has been dubbed the “father of Android,” left Google in 2014—but it wasn’t until an October 2018 report in the New York Times that knowledge of how and why became public. The Times wrote that a female employee, with whom Rubin had “been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode.”

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Google human resources personnel found the account credible, but the search giant and its parent company Alphabet let Rubin walk with a shocking $90 million exit package on top of $150 million in 2014 stock awards. It later emerged that another executive accused of groping an employee at a “boozy” holiday party, former senior vice president Amit Singhal, had a $45 million exit package approved by Google (though the amount was later reduced to $15 million). The revelations sparked furor from both shareholders and employees, the latter of whom staged a massive walkout later in 2018 demanding change. The matter still hasn’t been resolved, with Google recently denying claims by staffers involved in organizing the walkout that were later retaliated against.

According to BuzzFeed News, a lawsuit filed last October by Rie Hirabaru Rubin claims that Rubin and his ex-attorney were engaged in a conspiracy to defraud her by “convincing her to sign a prenuptial agreement that later barred her from sharing any part of her husband’s financial gains.” The lawsuit also alleges that Rubin misled her about his finances, including by opening a separate bank account shortly before his 2014 departure that he used to pay off women. Rie Rubin is seeking to have the prenuptial declared invalid, BuzzFeed News wrote:

Rie Rubin, who is also seeking a divorce in a separate family court, is suing to invalidate that prenuptial agreement and to potentially lay claim to a portion of Andy Rubin’s net worth, which court documents estimate to be around $350 million.

While the lawsuit never explicitly states that Google paid $90 million as part of an exit package following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct in 2014, it does state that “Rubin concealed his income” and that his wife “even now does not understand the full scope of his finances.” Rie Rubin also alleged that her husband opened a separate bank account a few months before he left Google in October 2014 to receive his earnings and make “hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to other women.”

As the Verge noted, one of the key claims in the suit is that Rubin recommended his ex-lawyer to Rie Rubin during the handling of the prenuptial agreement, failing to disclose that attorney represented him in a prior divorce. The suit claims the resulting prenuptial appeared designed to exclude massive parts of Rubin’s wealth, the Verge wrote, including holdings “that appear to result from Microsoft’s acquisition of Sidekick manufacturer Danger,” of which Rubin was a co-founder.

However, one of the most concerning allegations in the documents is that Rubin had “affairs with multiple women” and that some of these were “‘ownership’ relationships with other women, whereby Rubin would pay for their expenses in exchange for offering them to other men.” It accuses Rubin of running what was more or less a sex ring. That dovetails with the original Times report, which mentioned that Rie Rubin had accused him of such conduct and included a screenshot of an August 2015 email to one of the alleged mistresses:

The suit included a screenshot of an August 2015 email Mr. Rubin sent to one woman. “You will be happy being taken care of,” he wrote. “Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.”

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San Mateo Superior Court Judge Susan Greenberg unsealed documents related to the case on Tuesday, but did tell Rie Rubin’s attorneys to file an amended complaint removing some of the most outrageous accusations, BuzzFeed wrote.

“This is a garden variety family law dispute involving a wife who regrets her decision to execute a prenuptial agreement,” Rubin’s legal team told the Verge and BuzzFeed News in a statement. “It should be litigated in family law court in its entirety.”

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In a further statement to the Verge, Rubin’s attorneys added, “This is a family law dispute involving a wife who regrets her decision to execute a prenuptial agreement. It is full of false claims and we look forward to telling our side of the story.”

[BuzzFeed News/The Verge]

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Tom McKay

"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post