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Hyperloop One co-founder takes leave after sexual harassment accusations

Enlarge/ Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sherpa Capital ..

Enlarge/ Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sherpa Capital Shervin Pishevar and Executive Editor of Recode Kara Swisher speak onstage during Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Shervin Pishevar, a well-known Silicon Valley investor who co-founded Virgin Hyperloop One, has now taken a leave from his professional duties in the wake of recent allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

According to Bloomberg, five women have recently accused Pishevar of using "his position of power to pursue romantic relationships and unwanted sexual encounters."

According to Pishevar's Tuesday statement, the venture capitalist will immediately step down from Sherpa Capital and Virgin Hyperloop One, as well as give up his board seats at other companies.

Pishevar's spokesman Mark Fabiani said that his client has no other pending litigation. Fabiani provided Ars a copy of the Tuesday statement that was sent to other media.

Pishevar believes he is the subject of a "smear campaign." He was also reportedly arrested by London authorities in May 2017 in relation to a rape allegation.

On November 6, 2017, Pishevar filed a defamation lawsuit in San Francisco state court against Definers, a Washington, DC-area Republican political consulting firm that opened up an office in Oakland earlier this year. Pishevar accuses Definers of spreading false information about him.

Tim Miller, a Definers partner, told Ars on Tuesday that Pishevar's accusations against Definers are "completely false."

"His claims are delusional," Miller wrote to Ars via Twitter direct message. "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."

Two days later (November 8), Pishevar's representatives sent a statement to Axios. In it, he said that by, July 2017, "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."

Also on Tuesday, Fabiani also provided Ars with a copy of the November 10 letter from the City of London, which included this line about Pishevar's arrest: "There was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction therefore no further action was taken against the suspect."

Still, Pishevar is the latest in a string of high-powered Silicon Valley investors who have been ousted after allegations of sexual harassment. Last month, Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson—who also served on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX—stepped down from that esteemed VC firm.

In August, Pishevar threatened to sue former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and other board members if they did not comply with his demands to preserve his "supervoting" status on the company board.

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Ars Technica

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