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Case Study: Investigation

The Issue

The Client was considering litigation against a multi-billionaire with extensive business interests. The litigation would have been extremely expensive and very lengthy, with multiple other sensitivities involved. This subject of the litigation ('X') had taken great care to hide his assets behind an army of advisors and front men. 'X' also employed people specifically to 'clean' his web presence and maintain his reputation. The spread of his investments was vast, and involved hiding assets in countries difficult to access such as those controlled by African dictators and offshore tax havens. He also enjoyed the protection of a significant nation state, which probably provided security counter measures to alert him to investigative efforts such as ours. We were asked to lawfully catalogue 'X's assets so that an accurate assessment of worth could take place.

The Solution

The immense scale of this project was apparent from the start. We drafted a Project Implementation Plan to produce a phased response, which began with a Scoping Exercise leading to a detailed Collection Plan across four continents. As the Client requested sight of documentary evidence for some investments, this task could not be completed through Internet based research alone. The Collection Plan included tasking trusted sub-contractors to obtain documentary evidence and supplementary intelligence. This involved reporting what was feasible, the likelihood of success, and a variety of options for delivery (i.e. different costs for different assurances). We reported at the end of each phase, made recommendations as to the feasibility of next steps collection, and costed each further step/option. This included the option of a report from a close associate of 'X'. Quality intelligence but at a quality price.

The Outcome

We eventually produced a report spanning 80 pages, documenting over 90 interests in 23 countries, including stock, cash, property and high value items such as aircraft and yachts. Some of these assets were identified as a result of using specialist search techniques yielding obscure documents from the darkest corners of the Deep Web. It was originally envisaged that we would produce a five-phased response to include support during any subsequent court action. However, we produced such a thorough reveal that the Client was able to settle with 'X' and avoid costly and lengthy litigation. We could never say that we had identified all 'X's assets, but it was enough to do the job.

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