Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec Sues Ex-Girlfriend for Extortion
Robert Herjavec has filed a lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend for allegedly trying to extort and embarrass him.
In the complaint obtained by PEOPLE, the Shark Tank star alleges Danielle Vasinova, whom he dated on and off from January 2014 to February 2015, is trying to exploit the sexual harassment scandal rippling through Hollywood by extorting him for millions of dollars over what he says are false claims of sexual assault.
Herjavec, 55, is also suing Vasinova for intentional infliction of emotional distress and public disclosure of private facts, claiming Vasinova gave paid interviews to tabloid publications in which she disclosed personal information about Herjavec and sold a compromising photo that she took of him at a sexual fantasy club without his knowledge or consent.
He is requesting only $1 in damages and an order from the court to stop the extortion, which a spokesperson for the star tells PEOPLE is to prove that this is “not about money or power.” A representative for Vasinova had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.
Herjavec claims that in March 2015, he received a letter from an attorney acting on behalf of Vasinova threatening to expose “graphic details of [his] deviant sexual fantasies and escapades” — a reference to a visit the former couple paid to a sexual fantasy club in September 2014 at Vasinova’s request — if Herjavec did not make an unidentified payment.
According to Herjavec, Vasinova had convinced him to go to the sex club by assuring him that it would provide “a legitimate, fantasy experience” and was “just innocent fun.” Herjavec went, consented to be strapped to a table and blindfolded, after which he was tickled with a feather.
Herjavec claims Vasinova took a picture of him “in this vulnerable position” without his knowledge, which was published in the National Enquirer.
In the complaint, Herjavec says after he refused to pay Vasinova, the threats “began to escalate” and she “threatened to falsely claim that Herjavec gave her herpes,” as well as “falsely allege multiple sexual assaults.” Herjavec claims Vasinova first demanded $20 million, then $5 million for her silence.
Herjavec alleges that after he continued to refuse to pay Vasinova, she began trying to sell stories about their relationship to various media outlets, including “a false narrative” regarding their trip to the sex club.
In the complaint, Herjavec says the publication of the “false stories” — and particularly the publication of the sex club photo — was “highly embarrassing to [him] and his family.”
Herjavec claims he stopped hearing from Vasinova until Monday, when he received a letter from her attorney in which Vasinova threatened to reignite her assault claims, explaining that “she bears full awareness that the problems plaguing Hollywood are far bigger than she is, and appreciates fully that her willingness to come forward now will not only be cathartic for her, but will go far in serving the interests of other women and men who have not yet found their voices.”
According to the complaint, the letter went on to suggest an “informal resolution,” which Herjavec interprets as renewed extortion.
“While Mr. Herjavec deeply regrets that it has come to this point, Miss Vasinova’s repeated attempts to extort him have forced him to protect his family and seek relief in the court of law,” a spokesperson for Herjavec told PEOPLE in a statement. “Miss Vasinova’s deliberate, false and malicious accusations made in the media over the course of several years prior against Mr. Herjavec are fueled by her inability to move on from their consensual relationship that ended years ago.”
“Mr. Herjavec is deeply offended by the accusations as they do not reflect his attitude towards women, professionally or privately,” continued the statement. “Mr. Herjavec’s character has always been one of respect and it is undeniable that his actions have always reflected that. Mr. Herjavec and his family applaud the many victims whose stories are being elevated as they stand up against bad behavior. Those victims should not be marginalized by the current matter which is nothing more than an extortion attempt over a consensual relationship that ended several years ago.”
Hours after Herjavec filed his suit, Vasinova fired back at the Shark Tank star with a lawsuit of her own, in which she is suing for domestic violence, sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress, according to TMZ.
In the documents, the website reports, Vasinova claims that Herjavec took her to an underground Los Angeles sex club in 2015 and instructed her “to watch him as he engaged in sexual conduct with other women,” TMZ reports. She alleges he demanded she participate; she refused and he got angry and allegedly pinned her to a table, grabbed her face to hold her down and proceeded to engage in “injurious sexual intercourse and sodomy.”
According to the documents, Vasinova claims in February 2015 he violently threw her down and raped her. The morning after, she claims he grabbed her by her throat — preventing her from breathing freely — and had sexual intercourse.
Vasinova is also claiming that he made promises to take care of her financially and marry her.
“The allegations are false and with the sole intent for monetary gain,” Herjavec’s lawyer, Lee Hutton, said in a statement to PEOPLE. “My client has had enough and will not tolerate extortion.”