A former Libyan intelligence chief, who told associates he’s a shareholder in German obligations group Wirecard, financed a surveillance operation in London that targeted a series of investors such as hedge fund manager Crispin Odey.
Rami El Obeidi, head of international intelligence in Libya’s National Transition Council, which dominated the country briefly in the aftermath of Muammer Gaddafi’s departure in 2011, was searching for signs that market speculators were trying to control Wirecard shares, based on two people knowledgeable about the surgery.
He kept the services of two security firms: Sloane Risk Group at London, conducted by a former British counter-terrorism operative Hayley Elvins, also APG Protection, a Manchester-based company run by a former special forces soldier Greg Raynor, according to a briefing document representing the surveillance procedure.
Sloane and APG then mimicked an operation codenamed”Palldium Stage 2″, employing assistance from 28 individual personal investigators, ” the sources stated. A surveillance team tracked at least eight guys in total, according to the briefing document and photos aged between October 23 and November 3 this season, which were acquired by the Financial Times.
Wirecard has denied any participation in these surveillance. The Munich-based technology team, a part of this esteemed Dax 30 indicator of Germany’s biggest companies, has portrayed critics of its own accounts and governance as offenders hoping to control its share price, in collusion with the media.
Following the publication of this so-called Zatarra report, a important dossier about Wirecard printed anonymously in February 2016, the organization’s shares slumped. This prompted a sharp public reaction from Wirecard and tries to detect the identity of their writers and their supposed collaborators.
Two specialist traders, Matt Earl and Fraser Perring, co-authored the Zatarra report and therefore are one of the eight guys surveilled over recent weeks, combined with Mr Odey, Brett Palos, the stepson of merchant Philip Green, along with Nick Gold, a veteran stock exchange speculator.
Mr Gold has been recorded in July speaking to an undercover investigator posing as an investor. In the market, Mr Gold seemed to indicate that he was conscious the FT would soon be publishing additional crucial news coverage about Wirecard.
In a statement issued by Wirecard’s attorneys, Herbert Smith Freehills, the business claimed in the time it had acquired the record of Mr Gold meeting exactly what it described as”prospective investors”.
Wirecard stated this represented clear signs of criminal collusion and market manipulation. Details in the record of Mr Gold were then distributed broadly among the German media.
Late last month, excerpts of the recording were also uploaded into an anonymous site, Shortleaks.com, which led to a tide of social networking criticism hard that the FT’s reporting.
Mr Gold has told friends he thinks he had been subject to some sting operation which invited him to making exaggerated claims.
In July that the FT commissioned an outside law firm to independently analyze the allegations. It found no evidence of wrongdoing from the FT’s investigative journalism group.
Wirecard this week denied any association with the Palldium surgery or financing any such action. An announcement from Herbert Smith Freehills added:”We know from our customer that it has no known affiliation with Mr El Obeidi and isn’t conscious of Mr El Obeidi holding any Wirecard shares. Further, our customer confirms that it didn’t obtain the sound recording of Mr Gold from Mr El Obeidi.”
Copies of a operational”discussion” messages involving Mr Raynor, Ms Elvins and their groups, reviewed from the FT, show that Mr El Obeidi is known as”Boss” or just”Doc” from the security staff. The groups have utilized a”push-to-talk” program named Zello, via a station called”Palldium C2″, due to their surveillance communications.
A range of market speculators that have bet against Wirecard stocks before have told the FT that they had been followed and followed. One said he found a tracker device set on his vehicle.
BaFin, the German financial regulator, has researched speculators for potential market manipulation and before this season released briefly an unprecedented ban on”short sales” at Wirecard stock.
In correspondence seen by the FT involving Mr Earl and Wirecard’s afterward attorneys, Jones Day, the business admitted in 2016 using personal investigators. Wirecard insisted that this was”restricted and legal” and needed to make sure the Mr Earl was accessible to get legal letters in person. A distinct investigations agency was set up.
Mr El Obeidi didn’t respond to requests for comment. Individuals who have worked with him say that he spends a lot of his time in Turkey and Dubai, which he remains in The Dorchester resort when in London. Outside his asserted investment in Wirecard that the FT was not able to determine his business pursuits.
Sloane Risk, which on its own site clarified using former operators in”British intelligence and particular military units that have finished training unavailable to the industrial industry”, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
APG Protection stated it wouldn’t comment on”real or imagined pursuits or customers of the firm”, including that any”operational action conducted by APG is always strictly within the legislation”.
FT under surveillance
This isn’t the first time that critics of Wirecard have been put under surveillance.
The FT has now released a distinct discussion document in German, which reveals plans hatched by an unnamed European personal investigations outfit to establish a sophisticated eavesdropping performance in the united kingdom. Titled”Indikatioren zum Insiderprofil”, the 14-page document has been dated March 9 2016, fourteen days following the Zatarra report has been published.
On this occasion, according to the record, those being tracked included Dan McCrum, the primary author of the FT’s coverage of Wirecard, along with numerous London financiers such as Mr Palos. The FT has redacted titles of a number of these targeted.
The record also cites a executive at Wirecard’s prepaid card company from Britain, whom Wirecard has denied tracking or having worries regarding.
The strategies included utilization of a so-called”IMSI-catcher” — a global cellular subscriber identity-catcher — to harvest data and audio out of a target’s telephone, and”suck out the blood of suspicious individuals”, according to the document.
Eavesdropping is prohibited in Germany, unless completed by the nation, part of stringent privacy legislation formed by the nation’s experience of covert police action in former East Germany.
Wirecard executives seem to have guessed a mole was working at a senior level within the firm after Mr Earl and Mr Perring released their Zatarra Report at 2016, prompting a criminal investigation from Germany into alleged market manipulation.
The case against Mr Earl was then removed. Munich prosecutors have sought to nice Mr Perring, that has been denied publishing any false or misleading data.
The digital eavesdropping record includes details of social and psychological profiling targeted at identifying an inner leaker, before heading on to detail the actions of”Kontakt Team England.”
there’s a mention of”hacking”, together with Mr Palos and Mr McCrum the proposed goals and”SWIFT information” was obtained, indicating the researchers were searching for signs of money transfers involving a variety of people.
Mr Palos was to”get 2-3 pings” daily, and that, according to safety specialists, is a reference to some”hushed SMS” or confidential text message, that offers the precise area of a victim’s telephone. In what’s called a”man-in-the-middle” assault, this strategy involves putting a”bogus” telecoms tower involving the consumer’s phone along with the true telecom community.
Other people allowed for”OSINT” or open intellect, comprised Michael Hedtstück, editor in chief of Finance, a German journal, that was stated to have been”negative” about Wirecard, together with a selection of hedge fund managers and other investors.