Shervin Pishevar, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist and an early investor of Uber, is suing Definers Public Affairs and two of its executives on Monday, accusing them of covert smear campaign against him.
In the lawsuit filed in a California court, Pishevar alleges that the Republican-led research firm based in San Francisco spread false and disparaging information about him, including being a Russian government agent and that he “paid money to settle a claim for sexual assault in London.”
In the police report acquired by Forbes, Pishevar was detained in London on May 27 after a 31-year-old woman told police at Bishopgate station that she was raped by a man who was staying at The Ned. Authorities arrived at the penthouse suite of the hotel to collect samples for evidence testing before arresting Pishevar.
However, the 43-year-old investor was released due to “insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, therefore no further action was taken against the suspect.” He was also never charged for any crimes.
Mark Fabiani, Pishevar’s attorney, said in the statement:
“In May 2017, Mr. Pishevar was detained briefly in London in connection with [an] alleged sexual assault, an allegation he categorically denied. He fully cooperated with the police investigation which was exhaustive and detailed. In July he was informed that no further action would be taken against him and he was ‘de-arrested’ (a British legal term). Mr. Pishevar is grateful for the highly professional and expeditious manner in which the inquiry was conducted.
“Mr. Pishevar is informed that several false rumors have been spread about him, including that he purportedly paid money to settle the claim. That is categorically false. It is because of false rumors like this that Mr. Pishevar was compelled to bring his legal action against Definers to ensure that his reputation is not destroyed and that the truth will always prevail.”
Without dropping specific names, Pishevar said in the defamation suit that several reporters “were aware of rumors that were circulating about Mr. Pishevar, including false and salacious rumors about alleged sexual misconduct, and a false claim that Mr. Pishevar entered into a settlement agreement concerning the purported sexual misconduct.“
The investor also mentioned that he heard the firm tell an unnamed third party, “we hear Shervin is the next to go down.”
Tim Miller, a partner of Definers, strongly denied the allegations that Pishevar threw at the company.
“His claims are delusional, we have never engaged in any of the actions he outlined in this complaint, and Definers has never done any work with regards to Mr. Pishevar,” Miller said in a statement to Recode.
Pishevar’s case has become more relevant today not only because of his lawsuit, but also the growing number of sexual assault victims coming forward — notably the Hollywood Harvey Weinstein scandal and some of Silicon Valley’s tech executives, Quartz reported.