Case Study: Diligence
The Client was an investment bank with a potential investor willing to place a large amount of capital into their business. This individual ('X') was a high profile Eastern European businessman with political connections and reported links to organized crime. The Client wanted to know the reality of the situation before making a decision. The issue here was conflicting reports about the source of 'X's wealth, and the possibility of a 'smear campaign' by rivals jealous of his success. If the allegations of links to organized crime were true, then any investigation would bring increased operational risk to the investigation team.
Open Source Research was conducted well beyond the pages of the financial press. This included researching the Internet in 'X's home country in his native language. This provided quite a different picture from that seen from the UK. However, the question could not be answered unequivocally through open source material alone. The decision was taken to use human based intelligence (HUMINT), and so a suitable source was identified via one of our partners with intelligence assets in-country. The source was tasked to speak to identified individuals with knowledge of both organized crime and 'X', and report back.
We provided a thorough report mapping out 'X's business history, presenting a balanced view of the origins and legitimacy of his wealth. We also reported the HUMINT perspective, which in summary was: '...he is a man we can do business with...'. This latter intelligence was accompanied by an assessment of the reliability of the source and the likely accuracy of the information. The overall report allowed the principal stakeholders to make their decision on whether to go ahead based on the best information available, beyond that seen through the usual portals.