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Bermuda-based company rocked by sexual misconduct claims

Zia Chishti, CEO of Afiniti

The head of a billion-dollar data and software company located in Bermuda has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Zia Chishti, the founder and chief executive officer of Bermuda-based Afiniti, has been accused of pressuring a former employee into having sex with him on a business trip.

The company boasts a number of high profile directors and advisors on its board, including former Bermuda Premier Dame Jennifer Smith and former UK prime minister David Cameron.

Testifying before the US House of Representatives yesterday, Tatiana Spottiswoode also claimed that Mr Chishti beat her, leaving her with “scratches, cuts and contusions“, according to foreign news reports.

Mr Chishti, 50, is accused of beating Ms Spottiswoode while having sex with her on a business trip to Brazil in 2017.

She told the US House of Representatives’s judiciary committee that Mr Chishti had told her “he should have had sex with me when I was 13 years old”.

The committee released images allegedly showing neck injuries sustained by Ms Spottiswoode.

A spokesperson for Afiniti denied the allegations and told The Guardian newspaper: “We take any allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

“Afiniti has investigated Ms Spottiswoode’s claims with independent counsel and concluded that the arbitral decision she references was erroneous. Afiniti’s CEO and chair Zia Chishti strongly disputes all accusations against him.”

The company, which develops artificial intelligence software, is incorporated in Bermuda and has its headquarters here.

In January it pledged to bring 1,000 jobs to the island. But six months later, 65 of the 79 personnel then working in Bermuda were relocated to Turkey.

At the time, a company spokeswoman insisted that Afiniti was still committed to the island and was looking to bring in more staff.

The spokeswoman added that senior employees, including Mr Chishti, were based on the island.

Tuesday’s revelations have already impacted the company. Mr Cameron stood down from his position as chairman of Afiniti’s board of advisers in the wake of the scandal.

Other directors include Jose Maria Aznar, a former president of Spain, and John Snow, a former US treasury secretary.

Dame Jennifer could not be contacted for comment by press time.