A former Swedish model-turned-assistant to a Wall Street financier, who has sued her boss claiming he had forced her into a sexual relationship, tearfully told a Manhattan jury Monday how she felt used and was terrified the high-powered CEO was going to fire her and revoke her visa.
The financier, on his part, has denied ever having sex with his underling and accused her of trying to extort money from him.
Bouveng was fired from the company last year after her boss walked in on her lying in bed with her boyfriend in the expensive Manhattan apartment Wey had rented for her.
Speaking from the witness stand in Manhattan federal court Monday, the slender brunette described in intimate detail her and Wey’s first alleged sexual encounter in December 2013, which reportedly lasted only two minutes.
Bouveng, 25, said the evening began at celebrity chef Mario Batali’s trendy Babbo restaurant in Greenwich Village, where Wey surprised his assistant with a bonus in the form of a $2,000 Prada bag.
After dinner, she testified, her married 43-year-old employer walked her home and asked to come up for tea, reported the New York Post.
‘He came up, and we sat down on the couch,’ an emotional Bouveng told the court. ‘I sat on the other end and he asked me to come closer and I did, and then he put his arm around me and started kissing me on the neck.’
She then detailed for the jury how Wey grabbed her by the hand and led her into the bedroom, where he proceeded to undress her, telling her he had brought a box of condoms with him.
When asked by her attorney, David Ratner, whether Bouveng kissed Wey during their first sexual encounter, the woman stated, ‘No.’
‘I felt so used and weak, and I was so ashamed that I let this happen,’ Bouveng said. ‘That I’ve been through my entire life and nothing like this has ever happened. And everything that I’ve ever been — strong, independent — he just took that away from me.’
The following day, she said, Wey showed up at the Global Group offices and acted as if nothing happened between them.
Bouveng said Wey, who is married with children, pressured her into sex on three other occasions, and she had kept it a secret out of shame and fear that he was going to revoke her visa or throw her out of the $3,600-per-month Tribeca apartment that he was renting for her.
Describing herself as feeling ‘useless’ and ‘weak’ during that time period, Ms Bouveng told the court: ‘I thought that he was going to, you know, come after me. Like he said in the very beginning, no one ever said ‘no’ to him before.’
During her testimony, Hannah Bouveng recalled the first time she met Wey in the summer of 2013 at his house in the Hamptons.
He later took Bouveng out to lunch in Manhattan, during which the married CEO allegedly confided in the Swedish model that he was lonely and wanted a girlfriend to keep him company and follow him everywhere around the world.
‘So I told him that I was not interested,’ she said. ‘”I think you have to keep on searching because I’m interested in a job.
And I just can’t accept your proposal.”’
The following day, the Global Group CEO called Bouveng telling her how he thought she was brave for saying ‘no’ to him. He then offered her a job in his billion-dollar company.
Bouveng accepted an assistant’s position at Global Group, but according to the woman, Wey continued sexually harassing her.
On business trips to Boston and Dubai, she claimed, the CEO made her share a room with him and made sexual advances, which she rejected.
While staying at the Boston Harbor Hotel one time, Bouveng recalled, Wey started kissing her on the neck and taking off her coat. When she asked him if he had protection, the financier said he had not, but that it was not a problem because he was ‘clean.’
‘And then I said I didn’t want,’ the woman told the court, ‘that I didn’t want to do anything. And he said OK.’
Last week, Benjamin Wey told his side of the story, testifying that he decided to get rid of Hanna Bouveng after discovering that she was ‘cheating on him.’
‘Isn’t it true that you fired Hanna Bouveng two hours after finding a naked black man in her bed?’ Bouveng’s lawyer asked Wey last Thursday.
‘Yes,’ answered Wey.
The situation between Wey and Bouveng came to a head on April 22, 2014, when he barged into the Tribeca apartment that he was renting for her.
Despite having hired an investigator to research Bouveng’s boyfriend and having seen photos of him, Wey claimed that he didn’t recognize the man when he entered the apartment.
He said he had gone to Bouveng’s apartment because he was worried that she was partying too much, that he had heard there was an intruder and that he was concerned she might be selling confidential information about his billion-dollar investment firm.
‘You deny that you ever found her attractive?’ Ratner asked during five hours of testimony in Manhattan federal court, reports the New York Post.
‘I think she’s a pretty young lady,’ Wey said, before answering no when Ratner asked whether he thought she was physically attractive.
The trial has thrown up numerous embarrassing revelations for Wey. On Monday it was revealed that the banker had lasted just two minutes the first time that he’d slept with his employee.
Bouveng said she was hired by Wey in July 2013 – despite a lack of experience – as the company’s marketing chief.
‘This is a case about a 43-year-old Wall Street big shot taking advantage of a 25-year-old woman. He hired her, and then started a relentless campaign to have sex with her,’ Ratner said during his opening statement on Monday.
He went on to describe the moment Bouveng was forced to have sex with Wey.
According to court documents, Wey had taken Bouveng to dinner, given her a $2,000 Prada bag and plied her with drinks before having sex.
‘He has sex with her and it’s over in two minutes. She was horrified and debased,’ he said.
The pair had sex ‘several’ more times, but in order to avoid Wey, Bouveng began spending time with another man, Ratner said.
She was fired in April 2014, Wey’s reason being that her love of nightclubs was becoming an issue, Wey’s attorney Glen Colton said.
Bouveng didn’t report the sexual attacks until after Wey fired her, Colton said, adding that Wey called her complaints ‘extortion’.
‘She said she would go to law-enforcement and report the rape if he didn’t settle the case,’ said Colton.
Wey, a Columbia University graduate who holds two Master’s degrees, then continued to spread lies about Bouveng on a website he runs called The Blot Magazine, according to the model.
‘He puts on the blog that she’s a prostitute, that she hangs out with cocaine dealers. Every day after the complaint was filed there were articles about Hanna Bouveng and what a terrible person she is,’ Ratner said in court.
Colton said that his client saw potential in Bouveng, but admitted that he though Facebook messages and emails between the two were ugly. He denied his client sexually harassed Bouveng.
‘Sure, Ben Wey made some mistakes in the way he dealt with Ms. Bouveng,’ Colton said. ‘But he cared.’
Bouveng said in December that Wey contacted her family members after she was fired and accused her of cheating on him.
‘He contacted my father, brother, aunt, all my closest friends, business acquaintances, former employers, possible employers,’ Bouveng said in December.
Ratner said his client got scared after receiving a voicemail in which Wey allegedly said ‘you cheated on me!’ and said detectives were investigating her.