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Venture capitalist Stefan Glaenzer cleared of sexual assault

Venture capitalist Stefan Glaenzer - Tim Clarke
Venture capitalist Stefan Glaenzer - Tim Clarke

A multi-millionaire technology investor has been cleared of sexual assault after he was accused of pressing himself against a woman as she loaded a dishwasher.

Stefan Glaenzer, a 61-year-old venture capital investor, was cleared by a jury at Isleworth Crown Court, after deliberating for just over three hours. He had been accused of pushing himself up against a woman at a shared office space near his home in Kensington Park Gardens on 9 June, 2021.

Mr Glaenzer told the court that the contact with the woman was for a “split second” and the two “bumped into each other”.

The investor had walked into the office kitchen to make a cup of coffee while talking on the phone, he told the jury. He then moved between a kitchen island and an open dishwasher, where the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was bent over to load dirty crockery.

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Crown prosecutor Jose Olivares-Chandler said Mr Glaenzer had “deliberately pressed his private parts against [the woman's] bottom” as he passed. The tech investor admitted to making contact with the woman with his hip, but denied the contact was deliberate or sexual.

The complainant said she “couldn't focus because I was in shock”.

The jury were shown pictures of the office kitchen, with the dishwasher opened to show how much space was available, and diagrams of the room's layout.

Jurors heard the German-born venture capitalist, at one point hailed as one of Europe’s most successful tech investors, had previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a different woman on the London Underground in 2012.

Mr Glaenzer told the court he made a “massive mistake” and “crossed a red line”, saying his reputation had “disappeared overnight”.

In 2007, he sold his stake in music website last.fm for £22m, before going on to co-found venture fund Passion Capital.

By 2012 he was working “60 plus hours a week” at Passion Capital, Mr Glaenzer told the court, when, shortly after the birth of his third child, he was seen by a plain-clothes police officer rubbing himself against a female passenger.

Mr Glaenzer, who was under the influence of cannabis at the time, pleaded guilty in December 2012 to sexual assault and possession of the drug.

He told Isleworth Crown Court he saw therapists and sought help for his use of drugs. He said he had not used cannabis since the incident.

Mr Glaenzer no longer has any role at Passion Capital after reaching a settlement with the firm last week. The venture fund did not respond to a request for comment.