Corporate and Commercial Investigations

SIP, having been established since 1983, has a wealth of experience in Corporate and Commercial Investigations and is therefore capable of dealing with any issues that may require investigation. SIP will assist the client by evaluating the particular problem in order that the investigation is dealt with in the most advantageous way to achieve the result sought by the client. At the same time ensuring that the investigation is undertaken in a professional and efficient manner. Each assignment SIP undertakes is tailored to suit the particular needs of the client. The investigation team will include specialist personnel as may be applicable, no matter what the task, be it gathering intelligence, analysis of evidence, forensic accounting, IT forensics, surveillance, etc.

SIP has a very successful track record in dealing with Corporate Fraud and sensitive Internal Investigations. SIP has undertaken an extensive number of high profile international fraud and extortion cases over the years; though too many to include in this summary, three example cases are:-

 

Bank Fraud

SIP undertook a comprehensive investigation into the parties involved and the tracing of global assets acquired from the proceeds of a fraud that involved Foutanga Dit Babani Sissoko who defrauded a bank in the Middle East of US$260m.

 

Raider Attack

Forensic investigation and intelligence gathering on behalf of an investment company who had lost shares as a result of the illegal ‘raider attack’ in Moldova. SIP aided in the recovery of the shares as well as several millions EURO that had been lost. In this particular case SIP had undertaken extensive investigations and gathered global intelligence in relation to individuals behind raider attacks, as well as the complex infrastructure of offshore entities falsified documentation and corrupt officials.

 

Extortion

A third party who threatened to publicly disclose sensitive information was extorting a high profile business executive for €20 million. This information, true or false, had it become public, would have seriously damaged the client’s reputation. The client was concerned that had he gone to the Police the story may have been leaked to the press so he sought the services of SIP With very little information to go on SIP successfully traced the location of the person issuing the threats and identified an accomplice. Then SIP, jointly with an international law firm, devised the legal strategy to enter into a settlement agreement with the extortionist. This involved a very nominal amount of money being paid simply for contractual purposes but included the transfer to SIP of the computer/mobile/data storage devices and documents, etc. in the possession of the extortionist which potentially contained the sensitive information.

 

SIP mounted a ‘raid’ on the extortionist and requested that they cooperate by signing a settlement agreement. In the event that they declined to do so then SIP would have no option but to hand over their file to the Police thus resulting in them receiving a long-term prison sentence. The agreement was signed which was very favourable to the client as all computers, mobile devices, etc. were seized. SIP subsequently completed IT forensics on these devices and secured undisputed evidence that could support a conviction in the event of a criminal prosecution at a later date if there was ever a breach of contract by the extortionist.

In many investigations of the fraud or misappropriation of funds, SIP’s forensic accounting team provide valuable input whether to secure evidence against a party or assisting in the tracing of concealed assets. In addition to SIP’s experienced forensic accountants, SIP has its own bespoke ‘intelligent investigative forensic accounting software’. This aids in reducing valuable man-hours spent on a case as it analyses all the data that has been input, searching for the keywords, phrases or amounts of money as may be applicable. It then collates all the information and produces an understandable schematic diagram showing the links between documents/data, etc.

SIP’s forensic expert has investigated a multi-million pound ‘black hole’ in the results of a UK subsidiary of a FTSE listed company. Using analytical processes to review high volumes of journal postings SIP identified systematic manipulation of results by senior management over a five-year period.

SIP has investigated a number of frauds at a company within the healthcare sector; reviewing the results of investigations performed by the company and recommending further work to be undertaken; also assisting management in producing a fraud response plan to assist them in future investigations.

SIP forensic accounting team also undertakes commercial and contractual disputes such as preparing expert witness reports relating to claims, quantifying loss of profits due to disruption in trade, transaction disputes, advisory and valuation matters.

In making important commercial decisions, senior management frequently have to rely upon alleged facts, data and opinions presented by a third party, be it in respect of a potential acquisition or merger, a competitor’s actions, litigation matters, etc. Then, at a later date, often when it is too late, it transpires the information given is not as factual as claimed. This is a particular area where validating such information, through SIP’s professional intelligence service, can prove to be extremely beneficial to a company. Intelligence gathering is the art of investigation and research. SIP, with over 40 years of trading, has developed reliable sources of information worldwide and unlike many of our competitors, at SIP we have our own ‘bespoke intelligent investigative software’ that is capable of trawling the worldwide web, covering over 2,000 search engines. It can search in a number of languages, including, but not limited to, Chinese, Arabic etc. It allows the creation of selective keyword or phrase dictionary applicable to the information sought and analyses the data gathered. SIP undertakes these matters discreetly and efficiently so that the information required is produced quickly and accurately without alerting the party being investigated.

Competitive intelligence is a ‘value added’ concept that layers over the top of business development, market research and strategic planning to name a few. The typical objectives include:

  • Manufacturing and/or supplying capabilities of the competitor.
  • Analysis of alliance and/or joint ventures entered or being entered into by the competitor.
  • The competitor’s future plans and strategies for specific markets or range of products to be offered.
  • Purpose behind any shift in the corporate or business strategy of a competitor, customer, distributor or supplier.

SIP, with its expertise in this field, will carry out full competitive intelligence research on a client’s behalf or assist the client in the setting up of a competitive intelligence unit within their company.

Equally important is the knowledge that an organisation is operating efficiently. For example, awareness of the actions and attitudes of employees within individual departments, i.e. manufacturing, despatch, sales, customer service, etc.? Are staff working according to your expectations? These are long term contributions to the continued success of a company, or its failure, and therefore should be monitored periodically. SIP can assist you by providing you with an independent report so you can evaluate the performance of individual departments.

SIP have the capability and expertise to develop bespoke cyber laboratories ‘cyberlab’ that will be unique to cater for your requirements; it will trawl the worldwide web on over 2000 search engines in any language to gather intelligence on all competitors, new products or services being offered that may be beneficial to your company. Not only that, SIP can also have security measures built in to protect your data against hackers or other breaches of data security. SIP includes on-going maintenance for any ‘cyberlab’ that it develops and in-house staff training as may be applicable.

Imitations of internationally famous products cost legitimate companies millions of pounds each year. It is essential to obtain positive identification of the companies and individuals involved in the counterfeit from manufacture, the distribution chain and the general trading of a company’s products. SIP operates worldwide with the intelligence gathered through investigations and covert surveillance teams tracking the offenders. The evidence obtained by SIP allows direct action to be taken to protect a product’s image in the global market.

SIP provides a specialised Due-Diligence service and with its worldwide resources and experience in this field it is able to establish facts that many commercial due-diligence companies are unlikely to identify.

Due-Diligence is especially relevant for transactions involving mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, project financing, investments, etc. This applies to all sectors of business in order to provide comfort and assurances that any dealings are with a genuine person, whether a private individual, board member, client or a private, public or State owned company. Equally important is the verification of any information or data provided by a third party is bona fide.

SIP’s Due-Diligence program is customised to each client’s individual needs and level of intensity sought by them. Many commercial due-diligence companies merely compile public data or, when conducting open source research, physically conduct searches that cover a limited number of search engines and pages.

SIP, in addition to securing the public data, subscribes to a number of international databases and most importantly, when it comes to ‘open source research’, SIP is unique in that it has its own bespoke in-house ‘intelligent investigative software’ similar to that used by the UK Police in complex fraud, murder investigations, etc.

SIP’s ‘intelligent investigative software’ was developed following involvement in cybercrime investigations and the development of ‘cyberlabs’. This intelligent investigative software is capable of trawling the worldwide web, covering in excess of 2,000 search engines. As the majority of due-diligence searches are worldwide we have the capability to search in all languages, for example, but not limited to, Unicode Arabic script for the Middle East, Cyrillic alphabet for Russia, Greece, etc., logograms for China and several other Asian Countries.

Once SIP create selective keywords and phrases applicable to the information sought, the software gathers all the information available on the worldwide web, including, but not limited to, news and social media, forums & blog sites, new and archived data, diplomatic communications leaked to the public domain, information held by governments, quangos etc. The system then analyses the data gathered which is then reviewed by SIP to remove any false positives so that SIP retains the meaningful information that is relevant to the subject. In the event that SIP identifies links or documents or images of relevance that have been uploaded and available on the Internet, these are retained and exhibited to the report.

In addition to the above searches it is equally important for a conclusive result, to make local investigations and with due-diligence in foreign jurisdictions it often requires an understanding of local laws, languages and customs especially when records are not readily available electronically. SIP, as an experienced established international company, has the knowledge and contacts to enable such investigations worldwide.

SIP’s due-diligence investigation methods are discreet and confidential as we are aware of the need for discretion. For the convenience and ease of understanding for the client SIP’s reports are compiled with a summary but are supported with extensive information and a more detailed evaluation.

Brand protection requires a professional campaign against intellectual property rights infringements, particularly in the Middle and Far East and now more recently in many African and Eastern Block Countries. SIP is able to manage the enforcement of your company’s IP rights in these locations by working with local Governments and Enforcement or Police Departments as may be applicable.

SIP’s commercial research resources will prove invaluable to those companies who are considering a new opening overseas or determining their existing market share. SIP provides a report assessing the client’s exposure to political risk, providing intelligence and analysis on politics, regulations and government stability, including Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China and other areas of Asia.

SIP has extensive experience in global pre-employment background checks. We can customise the pre-employment background checks based on the job profile of the candidate. This service is geared towards providing a seamless service for companies and major organisations by providing a fast turnaround.

Subject to requirements and local laws in different jurisdictions the pre-employment background check may include but not limited to:-

As, in most jurisdictions some form of data protection governs such checks, SIP, therefore, require the production of various identity documents and a signed consent form by the candidate.

  • Social Networking activities
  • Passport, National ID
  • Drivers Licence
  • Criminal Records
  • Sexual offenders Register
  • Court Judgments, Bankruptcy, etc.
  • Credit Reference
  • Marital Status and Dependants
  • Qualifications, Licences & Degrees
  • Directors Searches
  • Schools, Colleges & Universities
  • Former Employment and Job Position
  • References

Needless to say in most jurisdictions some form of data protection will govern such checks. Therefore, in order for us to conduct pre-employment background checks we do require the production of various identity documents and a signed consent form by the candidate.

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