Disgraced founder of AI firm accused of ‘offering secrets to Chinese’

Disgraced founder of AI firm accused of stealing tech and ‘offering secrets to the Chinese’

The disgraced founder of an artificial intelligence firm has been accused by the company of stealing its technology and setting up a rival in China.

Zia Chishti allegedly pilfered technology secrets when he left Afiniti.

The 52-year-old entrepreneur left the software firm after accusations of grooming and sexual assault in 2021 by a former employee. 

Lawsuit: Afiniti founder Zia Chishti allegedly pilfered technology secrets, including its source code, when he left the firm following accusations of grooming and sexual assault

The assault scandal saw former UK prime minister David Cameron quit after a stint as chair on the Bermuda firm’s board.

In claims in a Washington DC lawsuit, Chishti has been accused of refusing to return his computer. 

After leaving Afiniti, which continues to employ Princess Beatrice as its vice-president of partnerships and strategy, he set up firms in Pakistan and China.

Afiniti’s lawyers claim Chishti has offered software to companies such as China Mobile which is held up by the Chinese government.

Afiniti says Chishti ‘conspired’ with his wife, Sarah Pobereskin and ‘others’, to ‘set up an array of companies in China, Pakistan, and elsewhere to improperly convert and commercially exploit Afiniti trade secrets’.

These allegedly ‘targeted and hired Afiniti employees with specific knowledge of Afiniti trade secrets and operations’.

They put down roots in the same office as Afiniti’s previous Chinese operation and imitated its branding, with its Chinese entity Qinhe meaning ‘affinity’ in English, the lawsuit stated. 

Chishti has disputed theft claims, dubbing allegations as ‘detached from reality’, and has said he offered Afiniti the chance to ‘promptly resolve the matter’.

The sex assault claim emerged when Tatiana Spottiswoode testified to Congress that she had been left with injuries after a work trip with Chishti. He denies the allegations and has launched defamation proceedings against her.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk