Bikram Choudhury, the Bikram Yoga founder who has been facing allegations and lawsuits from former students for rape and sexual harassment allegations, now faces an arrest warrant, according to ABC News and multiple other media reports.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Moreton issued the warrant on May 24 after Choudhury failed to pay the $6.7 million he was ordered to pay in compensatory and punitive damages in January 2016 to his former lawyer, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden. Jafa-Bodden had won a lawsuit against Choudhury alleging sexual harassment and retaliation by Choudhury for Jafa-Bodden refusing to cover up a rape allegation against Choudhury.
Choudhury denied the allegations in the Jafa-Bodden case and has denied sexual harassment allegations against him by six women as well as rape allegations by five women. Three of the women were featured in a "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" segment about the allegations. Choudhury also appeared in that segment and stormed out of the interview when reporter Andrea Kramer pressed him about the allegations.
In December, Jafa-Bodden's attorney, Carla Minnard, told Club Industry that Choudhury had "fled the country" to avoid paying her client. At that time, a judge diverted ownership of Bikram Yoga College, Bikram Yoga franchise agreements and the company's intellectual properties to Jafa-Bodden because Choudhury had not yet paid the $6.7 million judgment. At that time Minnard said she and her client would seek a bench warrant for Choudhury's arrest.
In February, Choudhury's attorney at that time, Simon Langer, received approval from a judge to be relieved as Choudhury's attorney because Langer said Choudhury was not communicating with him or paying him for his services in defending him in a case alleging Choudhury fired an employee because she got pregnant, according to Law360.com.
In October, Langer told the court that Choudhury "has no intention" of returning to the United States, noting that Choudhury was in India at that time, according to Law360.com. Authorities have told several media outlets that they believe Choudhury is not in the United States.
The Bikram Yoga website and Facebook page list that Bikram Yoga teacher training is occurring at the Princess Mundo Imperial Hotel in Acapulco, Mexico from April 23-June 28. Choudhury typically leads the teacher training. The website and Facebook page also note that fall training will occur Sept. 17-Nov. 19 in Acapulco.
The judge set bail for Choudhury at $8 million.