Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar denies sexual misconduct
San Francisco (AFP)
Shervin Pishevar, one of Silicon Valley's most powerful venture capitalists, has denied claims by several women of sexual harassment, saying he is the victim of an "organized smear campaign".
Five women told the Bloomberg News agency that Pishevar sexually assaulted or harassed them while meeting them in a professional context. Some of the alleged events took place as early as 2013.
Pishevar allegedly groped a sixth woman, Austin Geidt, an executive at the Uber ride-sharing company.
The other women requested anonymity, citing Pishevar's proclivity toward filing lawsuits and worries he would use his position of power to ruin their careers.
"Shervin Pishevar is the victim of an organized smear campaign... We are confident that these anecdotes will be shown to be untrue," Mark Fabiani, a crisis management expert, said in a statement sent on Pishevar's behalf on Friday.
Pishevar, co-founder and managing director of Sherpa Capital, is considered one of the most powerful investors in Silicon Valley.
He was an early investor in Uber as well as the vacation rental firm Airbnb.
Silicon Valley and many of its venture capitalists have long faced accusations of sexism and of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment.
But after a former Uber employee revealed she had been sexually harassed at the company, more women in the technology industries came forward with similar claims.
The revelations are part of a watershed moment in the United States that has seen powerful figures in Hollywood, journalism and politics felled over sexual misconduct claims.
© 2017 AFP