Robinhood has far fewer merry men – and women – in its band these days, and the company CEO, Vlad Tenev, is locked down because of perceived death threats as he awaits a hearing.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Tenev is holed up at a hotel in advance of Thursday’s schedule appearance before Congress.
The head of stock-trading app Robinhood is under scrutiny for his company’s behavior during the GameStop situation late last month.
Robinhood restricted trading GameStop hares Jan. 28 following a 2,000% month-to-date surge in the share price driven by retail investors. Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum led those investors who celebrated GameStop’s fortunes in accusing Robinhood of unfairly manipulating free-market trading.
Tenev said his fear is real, and told Bloomberg of the “angry client mobs” making death threats against him.
Police in Menlo Park, Calif., told Business Insider last week that protesters had thrown dog feces at Robinhood’s headquarters and sawed through a statue on the property.
Other institutional investors who bet against GameStop said they had also received threats, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Robinhood said it blocked GameStop share purchases to “help customers stay informed” amid market volatility but later cited deposit requirements from clearinghouses registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tenev and co-founder Baiju Bhatt have drawn criticism for political contributions. They each sent the maximum amount to financial services chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and her Republican counterpart Patrick McHenry (N.C.) in October.
Also due to testify Thursday are CEOs Gabriel Plotkin and Kenneth Griffin of hedge funds Melvin Capital and Citadel Securities, respectively; Reddit CEO Steve Huffman; and YouTube streamer Roaring Kitty, whose real name is Keith Gill. The hearing is supposed to focus on short-selling and online trading platforms, as well as “gamification,” according to Business Insider.