Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury was ordered by a US court to pay $924,500 as compensatory damages in a lawsuit filed by Minaksi Jafa-Bodden, his former legal advisor, for sexually harassing and firing a female employee, and the court also told Choudhury to pay $6.47 million in punitive damages.
The Kolkata born founder of Bikram Yoga, 69-year-old Choudhury testified that he is almost bankrupt.
A former White House lawyer, Petra Starke, who worked for Choudhury after Jafa-Bodden filed her lawsuit had told jurors that Choudhury presided over a crazy work environment with a sexually charged atmosphere.
Starke testified that she instituted strict sexual harassment policies and training when she took over as CEO and was shocked when she later witnessed Choudhury receiving oral sex from a teaching student in a limo.
The yoga guru is also facing lawsuits by several other women who claim he sexually assaulted or raped them.
Choudhury’s lawyers say their client is innocent and prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges in connection with the women’s claims.