Uber investor takes leave of absence after sexual harassment allegations

Uber investor takes leave of absence after sexual harassment allegations
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Shervin Pishevar, the venture capitalist and major Democratic donor, is taking a leave of absence from his investment firm after a report detailing allegations of sexual harassment.

In a statement, Pishevar did not mention the November Bloomberg story detailing accounts of him groping an Uber executive.

The investor instead said he was stepping down to focus on a separate matter, a lawsuit he brought against a communications firm. Pishevar has accused that firm of spreading false information after he was briefly arrested in London following a rape allegation.

“As that legal action progresses, it is my priority to ensure that the Sherpa Capital family is not adversely affected,” Pishevar said. “Therefore, I have decided to take an immediate leave of absence from my duties at Sherpa Capital and Virgin Hyperloop One, as well as my portfolio company board responsibilities, so that I can pursue the prosecution of my lawsuit, where I am confident I will be vindicated.”

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Bloomberg reported that Pishevar, an investor in Uber, had inappropriately touched Austin Geidt, the ridesharing company’s head of global expansion, at a holiday party. According to the report, five other women who declined to be identified accused Pishevar of sexual harassment.

He denied the allegations through a statement to Bloomberg from his attorney.

After the story, an Uber spokesman said in a statement: “We fully support those who have felt harassed speaking out, whenever and however they choose. We commend their bravery.”

Uber declined to comment about Pishevar’s recent decision.

In May, Pishevar was arrested at a luxury London hotel over a rape allegation, but police declined to press charges, according to Fast Company. He later sued Definers Public Affairs, a political opposition research firm, alleging that it was conducting a “smear campaign” against him by spreading misinformation about the incident.

Definers did not immediately respond when asked for comment, but the firm has denied the accusation.

“I care deeply about the incredible teams at Sherpa Capital and our portfolio companies and Virgin Hyperloop One, and hope that my decision to take a leave of absence will eliminate any potential distraction to the great and important work being done at these companies,” Pishevar said in his statement.