Bed Bath & Beyond CFO Who Fell To His Death Was Named In Trading Scheme Lawsuit

Gustavo Arnal, 52, was pronounced dead just after noon Friday by responding emergency personnel outside the 57-story skyscraper known as the “Jenga” tower in the Tribeca neighborhood.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death after an autopsy and investigation, police said. But emergency responders said that Arnal “appeared to suffer from injuries indicative from a fall from an elevated position,” NBC News reported.

“Gustavo will be remembered by all he worked with for his leadership, talent and stewardship of our Company. I am proud to have been his colleague, and he will be truly missed by all of us at Bed Bath & Beyond and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him,” Harriet Edelman said in a statement.

“Our focus is on supporting his family and his team and our thoughts are with them during this sad and difficult time. Please join us in respecting the family’s privacy,” she added.

Arnal’s death comes amid financial trouble for Bed Bath & Beyond. The retailer announced last week that it would close about 150 of its stores and cut its workforce by 20% in a bid to save some $250 million.

The retailer’s stock last month plunged 40% after spiking some 350% when billionaire Ryan Cohen scooped up a large stake of the operation, luring excited investors. On Friday, the day Arnal died, stocks were down 63% from their August peak, The Washington Post reported.

Cohen quickly dumped his holdings, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and made $58 million in his lightning-fast transactions, MarketWatch reported.

Arnal made about $1.4 million selling shares last month, according to Reuters.

Shareholders who said they lost $1.2 billion in the roller-coaster values late last month named Arnal, Cohen and Bed Bath & Beyond in a lawsuit claiming that they had been involved in a “pump and dump” scheme, artificially driving up the value of shares before selling at inflated prices.

“At all times Gustavo … controlled day to day affairs” of the company, while Cohen, the “largest BBBY shareholder who appointed three directors to BBBY’s board” had “extensive involvement in management and decision making … through his ownership stake in BBBY and his appointed directors,” the lawsuit states.

Cohen could not immediately be reached for comment.

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