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Bob Lee stabbing suspect Nima Momeni’s life unraveled before attack: friends

The tech entrepreneur accused of fatally stabbing CashApp founder Bob Lee in San Francisco last month was unraveling in the months before the attack as…



The tech entrepreneur accused of fatally stabbing CashApp founder Bob Lee in San Francisco last month was unraveling in the months before the attack as he battled a drug addiction and unresolved childhood trauma, friends claim.

Nima Momeni, 38, was arrested and charged with murder last month for the April 4 attack that left Lee, 43, dead from stab wounds to the chest. Though he has not entered a plea, his attorney Paula Canny said he intends to plead not guilty.

Former pals and girlfriends of the IT worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Mission Local that Momeni – who was born in Iran and immigrated to the US over two decades ago – struggled with “a massive drug problem that made him unable to reason and speak.”

“This is one of those things where [we’d say], ‘Nima, you’re cool, we love you, but you don’t make full sentences,’” one friend recalled.

A girlfriend from several years ago remembered Momeni using cocaine every day.

“That’s all he — he didn’t even go one day without that,” she told the outlet.

However, a one-time close friend of Momeni, Laurin Leske, countered that he never saw “anything more than the regular Bay Area executive sort” of drug use.

Bob Lee was stabbed to death on April 4.

Still, Momeni’s alleged drug habit seemed bad enough that his once-promising IT firm, Expand IT, devolved into a “hilarious shitshow,” another friend said.

“He couldn’t keep [employees] and not end up chewing them out for something they didn’t know — I saw it as mostly his fault,” the former pal claimed.

Canny, however, refuted the allegations of drug abuse or addiction.

“I don’t think that he had a drug problem, a serious drug problem. Based on the info that I have, I certainly wouldn’t classify him as a drug addict,” the attorney told the outlet.

Nima Momeni.
Nima Momeni was arrested and charged last month.

Another ex-girlfriend told Mission Local that the entrepreneur had unresolved issues with his father.

“He expressed extreme hate for his dad,” the woman said, adding that Momeni claimed his father was physically abusive.

“I definitely think that that created a monster.” 

Momeni left Iran with his mother, Mahnaz, and younger sister, Khazar, in 1999 while his dad stayed in Iran, the outlet reported.

Workers clean the sidewalk area where tech executive Bob Lee was stabbed.
Workers clean the sidewalk area where tech executive Bob Lee was stabbed.
David G. McIntyre

Friends also described the IT boss’ apparent deterioration — from “thriving” to “scary.”

Alex Pourshayegan, who knew Momeni from his teen years in the East Bay, said the entrepreneur seemed to be flourishing before the arrest.

“[He bought] nice cars, nice toys, a boat, a motorcycle, all the toys that a young man wants,” he said.

Just four months before he was charged as a suspect in the brutal slaying, Pourshayegan recalled Momeni’s plans to buy a ranch.

“He wanted to buy a ranch, because he loved country living. He’s a city boy with a country heart,” he said.

Another former acquaintance, Chris Byrne, said Momeni was “pleasant and good” at what he did.

Momeni pictured with his mother, Mahnaz Tayarani Babai.
Momeni pictured with his mother, Mahnaz Tayarani Babai.
Courtesy Mahnaz Tayarani Babai

A gal pal said Momeni was initially very kind and generous but became emotionally and physically abusive over time.

“I honestly think that he’s scary, and I always thought he was scary — after I got to know him,” she said.

In 2022, police records show that officers responded to Momeni’s Emeryville home after another woman said he grabbed and pushed her.

“She believes that he may be bipolar, because one minute he will be fine and the next he will go off for no reason,” the report obtained by Mission Local reads.

Momeni was cited for battery in the incident but he was not charged.  

Bob Lee and his two daughters.
Lee is survived by two young daughters.
Bob Lee/Facebook

Another ex-girlfriend added that he had an odd fascination with weapons.

“He loved his guns. He talked about his guns all the time,” the woman who dated the entrepreneur in the past told Mission Local, adding that he also had “lots of knives.”

When asked about Momeni’s treatment of women and the allegations, Canny asserted that was simply “not [her] experience of Nima” and suggested that people might be trying to defame her client on purpose.

The lawyer added that she doesn’t believe her client has “ever owned a firearm.”

“I just think that’s not true,” she told the outlet.

“Based on what I know, I believe there was nothing of any evidentiary value found when the police searched Nima’s apartment on the night they arrested him.”

Canny did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.

Scene of the stabbing.
Lee was stabbed on Main Street in the early hours of April 4.

Through the ups and downs in his life, however, multiple sources confirmed that Momeni remained close with his sister, Khazer. 

Born just 11 months apart, the siblings were in the same grade at Albany High School.

“I don’t know who Nima considered his closest group, besides his sister,” a former good friend said.

“He would do absolutely anything for her and she would do anything for him.” 

Shortly after Lee’s death, it emerged that Khazar – who is now married to a prominent San Francisco plastic surgeon – may be the link between the tech executive and her brother.

Momeni was supposedly fascinated by drugs and weapons.
Momeni was supposedly fascinated by drugs and weapons.
Courtesy Mahnaz Tayarani Babai

Court filings allege that Momeni confronted Lee on April 3, demanding to know whether his sister was taking drugs or if anything inappropriate was happening between them.

Momeni and Lee reportedly left the Millenium Tower, where Khazar lives, in the early hours of April 4. A short time later, they exited Momeni’s white BMW on a secluded part of Main Street.

The district attorneys allege that Momeni then stabbed Lee at least twice with a four-inch blade, leaving him bleeding out on the sidewalk when he sped away.

Around the time of his death, Lee received a text from Khazar asking if he was okay because “nima came wayyyyyy down hard on you.”

An autopsy subsequently confirmed that Lee had cocaine and ketamine in his system when he died.

Khazar cut a somber figure at her brother’s first court appearance last month. Momeni flashed his sister and her husband a heart sign, which they both returned.

If convicted of Lee’s murder, Momeni faces at least two decades behind bars.

Poursheyegan told Mission Local that the ordeal has been difficult for everyone who knew him.

“[Nima is] very kind-hearted, and there is no way that you could categorize him as someone who could plan to harm anyone,” he said.

“This is a shock to all of those people that know Nima. I do not know Nima as a violent person.”

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