IN the murky world of corporate espionage there is absolutely no murkier bunch than Black Cube, the private spy company founded and run by ex-members of Mossad and other parts of the octopus that is the Israeli intelligence community. The Black Cube ?advisory board? claims a minimum of two former Mossad heads ? Mossad being Israel?s foreign intelligence and assassination bureau.
Guess where Black Cube has its main centre of operations? Answer: Ropemaker Street in the town of London, coming from Moorgate Tube.
Black Cube has its official HQ in Tel Aviv, needless to say. But in accordance with its snazzy website, the company?s operations cover over 60 countries. London is best location ? with regards to global anonymity, never mind ease of travel and communications ? to use a global network of James Bonds. Forbes magazine estimates that a quarter of Black Cube?s 100 fulltime staff are based at Ropemaker Street.
Black Cube was founded in 2010 2010 by CEO Dan Zorella, an ex-member of the Israeli Defence Force intelligence, and Avi Yanus, a former IDF strategic planning officer (i.e. he prepared war plans against Hezbollah and Iran). Black Cube describes its main business mission as providing ?litigation services?. Quite simply, it isn’t spying for technical secrets but instead providing clients with evidence to use in open court when suing business rivals, or defending themselves against litigation by regulatory agencies, ex-employees or aggrieved commercial partners.
Black Cube denies it uses illegal methods of hacking phones or computers. It argues that information should be obtained legally if not it can?t be used in court. But that still leaves Black Cube operatives a lot of latitude. In classic Mossad fashion, Black Cube uses impersonation, deception and false cover stories to elicit information from the unwary. Disgruntled former employees, secretaries and mistresses are weak points that could be exploited.
WHO USES BLACK CUBE?
Among those who’ve used Black Cube?s services include disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, to collect personal information about women accusing him of sexual harassment; Taiwanese shipping mogul Nobu Su in his ongoing billion dollar law suit against RBS (so assume Black Cube operatives have been active in Scotland); and the London-based, Jewish-Iranian Tchenguiz brothers, who enormous property empire was felled in the 2008 financial meltdown when bank creditors called in loans.
In 2011, Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz were arrested and prosecuted by the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO), who claimed they were involved in skulduggery with the Icelandic Koupthing Bank. Koupthing had funded the brother?s property investments prior to the bank collapsed. They immediately hired Black Cube who found evidence that the lawyers appointed to liquidate Koupthing had lined their very own pockets ? and being associated with other of the bank?s creditors.
Whatever their actual culpability in the cesspit of Icelandic banking, the Tchenguiz brothers were able to utilize the Black Cube information to claim these were being made scapegoats. The SFO case collapsed ? partly because of its legendary incompetence ? and the agency was forced to cover the brothers ï¿½4.5m in damages plus costs. These presumably included Black Cube?s fees.
The litigation of Nobu Su against RBS continues to be ongoing, with Black Cube help. The background: as in other industries, the banks have turned the prosaic bulk shipping sector right into a vast, unstable derivatives market, trading instruments based on putative freight rates. The forex market was sucked into the maelstrom of the 2008 global financial meltdown.
Subsequently, Nobu Su?s TMT shipping line ? among the world?s biggest ? was bankrupted. Su claims his banker, RBS, was responsible. He says RBS falsified documents, manipulated company valuations in its favour, and misused his accounts. Whether true or false, these claims problem to anyone versed in the proven scandal of the RBS Global Restructuring Group, which did over a large number of small business customers. Nobu is suing RBS for ï¿½3b. If I were RBS boss Ross McEwan, or Fred ?the Shred? Goodwin, I would not sleep well during the night knowing Black Cube was on the market.