Canadian Founder of Dubai Film Fest pursues UK legal battle against
Festival's Managing Director Shivani Pandya

    Pandya served with legal papers in Toronto

TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - Neil Stephenson, the Canadian Founder and former CEO of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), an event conceptualized and launched by Stephenson in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in order to bring reconciliation between the West and the Islamic world, has continued his fight for justice against DIFF by having DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya personally served with legal papers in Toronto.

The UK defamation lawsuit against DIFF Chairman Juma and Pandya was filed last year, but not served.

Stephenson obtained special permission from the Court to serve Pandya outside the jurisdiction and she was originally served in Cannes last May. Pandya however attempted to evade service and returned the papers to Stephenson. In response, Stephenson's legal team arranged for legal process agents to be waiting for her as she checked into the Toronto Hilton Hotel for the current edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The suit alleges that the two defendants conspired to ruin his reputation by branding him a "racist" and "Arab-hater".

Stephenson had been a stalwart supporter of Pandya and had regularly promoted her up the ranks during his tenure as DIFF CEO. He appointed her as DIFF Managing Director in 2006 against the advice of senior TECOM Management who opposed the move, but when Mr. Juma was appointed as DIFF Chairman in August 2006, Pandya switched loyalties and went on to defame Stephenson which gave rise to the lawsuit.

Stephenson launched DIFF in 2003 and left as Festival Director in 2007.


For further information: For further information: Elizabeth Block: EJB Communications: 44(0)786-791-7286,; Neil Stephenson:

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