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Pakistani-American billionaire Zia Chishti accused of sexual harassment, steps down from Affinity

Zia Chishti steps down from roles of Chairman

LONDON: Pakistani-American billionaire and founder of a multi-dollar company Afiniti, Zia Chishti, stepped down from his senior roles in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him, it emerged on Friday.

“The Board of Directors of Afiniti announces that Mr Zia Chishti has stepped down from his role as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Afiniti, effective immediately,” the company said in a statement posted on the company’s website.

Two former employees of Afiniti confirmed to Bloomberg that Chishti reached a settlement with another young woman, who had been assaulted by Chishti, from discussing any details of the assault or compensation.

The allegations

Tatiana Spottiswoode, a 23-year-old former Afiniti employee, testified before a US congressional committee investigating arbitration clauses that companies write into contracts, and the effects they can have on victims of harassment and other crimes, according to Bloomberg.  

 

The report quoted Spottiswoode as saying that 50-year-old Chishti had sexually assaulted her during a trip to Brazil. She said that after the assault, Chishti filed for arbitration to silence her from speaking about the ordeal.

Spottiswoode, the daughter of an Afiniti co-founder, shared photographs as evidence of the assault. She said the sexual assault was so violent that a nurse who subsequently examined her at a hospital, stated that she had signs of a concussion.

“My body was covered with scratches, cuts and contusions,” Spottiswoode testified, adding, “I had bruises around my neck that looked like I had been strangled, a large bump on my head, a black eye.”

During her testimony, Spottiswoode also described a 2016 visit to Dubai where she alleged Chishti groped her in front of other colleagues and assaulted another.

The news also affected the Pakistan Stock Market on Thursday as Chishti is also the CEO of TRG Pakistan Limited. TRG Pakistan Ltd alone dragged the benchmark index down by 101.51 points as investors offloaded their shares in the technology company.

David Cameron quits

After a detailed string of allegations made against the Sitara-i-Imtiaz holder, former British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he has quit as chairman of the firm’s advisory board.

According to Sky News, a spokesperson for Cameron said he had “absolutely no knowledge” of the claims until Spottiswoode’s testimony and said they allegedly took place before he began chairing the board in 2019.

 

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