Pakistani-American businessman, and Sitara-e-Imtiaz recipient accused of sexual, physical assault

Zia Chishti is an American investor of Pakistani origin. In 2018, he received Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan.

Zia Chishti

The Pakistani-American businessman, and Sitara-e-Imtiaz recipient Zia Chishti, has been accused of sexual and physical assault by a former employee, Tatiana Spottiswoode.

Tatiana, a law student at Columbia Law School, told members of Congress on Tuesday how she felt pressured into a sexual relationship by the CEO of Afiniti. She also shared photos of injuries Chishti had allegedly caused her.

Zia Chishti is the founder of Afiniti- American multinational data and software company. He stepped down as the Chairman of the tech firm after the sexual assault allegations. 

Tatiana, who worked at his firm, said that Chishti beat her up during a sexual encounter at a work trip to Brazil in 2017. The 28-year-old further claimed that Chishti said he should have had sex with her when she was 13-year-old. 

According to Spottiswoode’s testimony, she met Chishti when she was only 12 or 13 and then saw him again a few years later, when she was studying at Columbia Law School.

Tatiana told the members of the Congress that when she was in her senior year of college, Zia Chishti invited her on a ski trip. She was 21 at the time, while Chishti was 43. She added that she initially refused to go with him but then agreed when he said he wanted her to meet his nephew, who also studied philosophy.

“I later learned that the nephew, who never showed up, didn’t exist,” the law student said. She further stated that Chishti told her that he had ‘feelings’ for her and then forced her into a sexual relationship during the trip.

Spottiswoode described a series of events in which Chishti displayed inappropriate behavior towards her, saying that it caused her mental stress.

Who is Zia Chishti?

Zia Chishti is an American investor of Pakistani origin. In 2018, he received Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan.

Zia was born Wilson Lear in 1971 in Bar Harbor, Maine. His father was American, and his mother was of Pakistani origin. After the death of his father in 1974, he and his mother moved to Lahore, Pakistan. At that time, his name was legally changed to Zia Chishti. Although Chishti intended to pursue a business career in Pakistan after graduating from the Lahore American School, his mother persuaded him to return to the United States.

In 2019, the 50-year-old visited Pakistan with a delegation of prominent individuals, including former prime ministers of Italy and Spain, on the invitation of then minister for overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari. The delegation had also held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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