NEWS – “without comment”
Oligarch crackdown shakes up private investigation sector
The wave of sanctions against Russian oligarchs in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine is having a big impact on the corporate intelligence world.
Issue dated 23/03/2022
It is hard to get information these days from corporate intelligence professionals whose work concerns Russian oligarchs. “Why give information to you when the Department of Justice pays for it?” other authorities – and journalists – investigating oligarchs assets are told.
Britain, France and Germany have set up special investigation units but the US’s KleptoCapture task force, which consists of sharp Southern District of New York prosecutors, FBI and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators, has a distinct advantage in being able to provide a recompense through the Department of Justice whistleblowing programme. Getting a percentage of a yacht that has been seized is no small thing. The objective may incite the corporate intelligence world to reorient the flow of information in a different direction – particularly those well-informed investigators who have conducted reverse due diligence on financial tracing to help oligarchs hide their fortunes.
Musical chairs in London firms
The oligarch crackdown has had concrete repercussions, particularly in the London corporate intelligence world, which has had a lot of Russian clients. According to our sources, several firms have lost younger staff due to concerns about them continuing to have Russian clients – an issue that bothered no one before the Russian offensive on Ukraine. Enyo Law, which worked for Boris Berezovsky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, a shareholder in Ukraine’s Privatbank along with Igor Kolomoisky), recently lost veteran Paul Austin, who has moved to FTI Consulting (IO, 08/07/15).
However probably one of the most exposed firms in the current climate, the reputation firm Schillings whose lawyers and investigators have defended likes of Oleg Deripaska, Alisher Usmanov (IO, 09/03/22), is poised to take on Aleksandra Knapp-Trajkovic, from Charles Carr’s Switzerland and London based C and F Partners, which focuses on the former USSR countries (IO, 03/04/19).
GPW sale on hold
Industry mergers and acquisitions have also been affected. Two potential buyers of GPW, the Canadian private security giant GardaWorld and the US company JS Held, which has recently got into investigation, say they are both concerned about the firm’s connections with disgraced Russian billionnaires (IO, 01/11/17).
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Reposted with the kind consent of Intelligence Online (March 26, 2022)