Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

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Re: Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:20 pm

Quartz published Black Cube pitch documents offering a glimpse into how the private spy shop attracts clients.

Not mentioned: The New York Times and an Israeli TV show said this former Israeli security official, once linked to a Black Cube case, used a pseudonym to get a meeting with a cyber watchdog.
Read Israeli spy firm Black Cube’s secret pitch to clients
By Max de Haldevang
March 11, 2019
The Israeli security firm Black Cube has become infamous for its alleged “dirty ops” campaigns, which involve getting “dirt” on their clients’ adversaries.

Past campaigns have reportedly involved tracking Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, secretly recording opponents of Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban, and spying on former Obama administration officials who negotiated the Iran deal.

However, the company makes no reference to any of this in pitch documents for prospective clients seen by Quartz.

In a pitch email, advisory board member Kirill Parinov says the company uses “proven ‘battle hard’ methods” and “utilizes” its board, which, he notes, has included former Mossad spy chief Efraim Halevy as a member and his late Mossad predecessor Meir Dagan as president. The only two news stories cited in a three-page attachment to the email are from 2013 and 2015—before Black Cube was implicated in a spate of controversial dealings.

The company’s operatives—who include former Mossad agents—allegedly use false identities to get close to their targets and create fake companies to provide cover as they seek out evidence of financial or sexual impropriety and other embarrassing information. Black Cube and its clients can then decide how best to use the information, some of which ends up in the press. In the case of Weinstein, Black Cube reportedly also surveilled journalists, in an apparent attempt to stop them from publishing stories about his alleged sexual misconduct.

There is no mention of such methods in Parinov’s email or the pitch document. Instead, the document makes vague references to services including “identifying your opponents’ vulnerabilities, interests, priorities and strategy,” and having a “proactive approach” involving “several unique methods, especially in the social engineering field.” One subhead, ominously titled “Identifying Misconduct & Developing Leverage,” discusses finding evidence of criminality and using it “to maximum effect” through courts or authorities.

Black Cube declined to comment to Quartz for this story, via a letter from its lawyer. Parinov didn’t reply to messages left on his cell phone.

Black Cube’s pitch document talks of “identifying your opponents’ vulnerabilities” and “developing leverage.”
Black Cube’s clients

Parinov says white-shoe US law firm Quinn Emanuel is one of “a number of elite law firms” with which Black Cube has “long-standing working relationships.” Parinov is a former managing partner of the Moscow office of Los Angeles-headquartered Quinn Emanuel, currently ranked as the 12th most prestigious US law firm by

A spokesman for Quinn Emanuel declined to comment on whether the firm had ever hired Black Cube, saying only, “Parinov left Quinn Emanuel in October 2017, having been ‘managing partner’ of a one-lawyer office.”

Parinov is listed on Black Cube’s board, along with the deceased former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan.
The document also cites two case studies of work it has done for clients. One details how it helped a multibillion-dollar American firm resolve a dispute with an Italian partner by finding evidence the Italian company had bribed the chief arbitrator. The description of the case closely matches one involving US insurance firm AmTrust, which has acknowledged hiring Black Cube for that dispute.

This Black Cube case study seems to describe an AmTrust case.
The Wall Street Journal reported that AmTrust later hired intelligence operatives to spy on its critics in the US, apparently causing the firm great embarrassment. AmTrust denied hiring investigators to pursue its critics, but declined to tell the WSJ whether its lawyers or others hired by the firm had done so.

AmTrust didn’t reply to an emailed request for comment from Quartz.

The other case study details an asset-recovery case in Brazil, Central America, and the EU.

Black Cube notes discovery successes in seeking new clients.
“Elite intelligence community veterans”

The document touts the firm’s employees as a “selected group of elite intelligence community veterans” who are “able to work in any environment,” and have a “unique mastery of cultures and languages.” Parinov’s email talks of their “proven ‘battle hard’ methods.” However, this group of intelligence veterans have also shown a propensity to be exposed in embarrassing ways.

Most recently, in what the New York Times dubbed “the case of the bumbling spy,” a former Israeli security official previously linked to a case with a Black Cube connection was outed by the Times and an Israeli television show as having pretended to be a wealthy Parisian investor in order to get a meeting with a Canadian cyber watchdog.

When confronted by Associated Press journalists who had been tipped off about the meeting, Aharon Almog-Assoulin “bumped into chairs and circled the room while trying to flee,” the Times reported. Black Cube denied any involvement in the incident and, the Times said, “did not directly answer multiple questions on Mr. Almog-Assoulin’s role.”

“Legal and admissible” information

“Black Cube is the only company in the world to practice human intelligence gathering on a major scale, which means we believe that the real information exists within people, and we have the methodology and experience to extract it in legal and admissible ways,” Parinov claims.

Black Cube operatives have admitted to acting illegally in the past, however. When two of its agents were arrested for hacking and spying on Romania’s anti-corruption tsar, the firm initially denied any wrongdoing. Later the agents admitted to the hacking in a deal with authorities that saw them go free, according to The New Yorker.

In response to Quartz’s request for comment on this story, a lawyer representing Black Cube strenuously denied that the firm engages in illegal activity.

A British parliamentary committee alleged in a report last year that Cambridge Analytica “engaged” Black Cube to hack Nigeria’s now-president Muhammadu Buhari, based on testimony from whistleblower Christopher Wylie and another unnamed source. Wylie seemed to at least partially walk this back in later US Senate testimony, saying, “When I was there we did not have a contract with Black Cube.” Asked if he had since learned of Cambridge Analytica hiring Black Cube, he gave a slightly cryptic response: “I’ve become aware of relationships that the company had with former members of Israeli security services.”

Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, who had earlier been taped telling an undercover reporter that he hired Black Cube, recanted this in testimony to the UK Parliament, saying: “I was totally mistaken. We have never worked with Black Cube.” Black Cube has denied ever working for Cambridge Analytica or its parent company and affiliates, and says it has never had a Nigeria-related project. ... o-clients/

Trivia; The lady at 34:30 is Investor Relations at Erik Prince's Frontier Resources Group. Formerly Director of Marketing for Israeli company Black Cube when Erik was dealing with founder/incubator Vincent Tchenguiz and secret partner in Indigo with Dorian Barak and Ari Harow.
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Re: Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:57 pm

Israel Hired Black Cube, Allowing Spy Firm to Operate Out of Military Intel Base
Defense Ministry admits to hiring spy firm between 2012 and 2014 Around the time, it offered other customers that it spy on former ministers and government officials

Gur Megiddo Aug 22, 2019 3:18 AM
The entrance to the skyscraper that houses the London office of Black Cube, 2019.Raphael Satter / AP
Corporate espionage company Black Cube was hired by Israel’s Defense Ministry in order to work on intelligence projects, the IDF spokesman and the Defense Ministry spokesman have acknowledged.

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The company, which has been at the center of several international scandals, has in the past spied on Israel’s government on behalf of other private customers, according to various news reports.

The ministry worked with the company between 2012 and 2014, it acknowledged. During that period, Black Cube employees were placed full-time on an IDF intelligence base.

>> $6 billion of Iranian money: Why Israeli firm Black Cube really went after Obama's team

Black Cube’s founder and CEO, Dan Zorella, is a veteran of a secret IDF special operations unit.

The Defense Ministry refused to say whether the Black Cube employees were engaged in actual espionage operations on behalf of Israel, or whether they aided the IDF’s intelligence in other ways.

This is not the first time that the state has hired private businesses to aid it in defense and intelligence tasks. According to foreign publications, businessmen including Yaakov Nimrodi, Arnon Milchan, and the brothers Sami and Yuli Ofer helped the Israeli government carry out intelligence missions in foreign nations, via their private businesses. Yet this is different from outsourcing intelligence work, as was done with Black Cube.

The Defense Ministry stated, “There was a short-term contract with Black Cube from 2012-2014. The relationship was conducted in keeping with obligatory regulations.” It refused to say how much Black Cube was paid, or whether it was hired through a tender.

Black Cube declined to respond.

Internationally, the company is best known for spying on behalf of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who now stands accused of serial sexual assaults and rapes. Weinstein hired Black Cube to collect information on his accusers, including actress Rose McGowan. According to an expose in the New Yorker, a Black Cube agent met four times with McGowan, while another agent met with a journalist in an attempt to ascertain which accusers were talking to the press.

Black Cube was founded in 2010 by Zorella and Avi Yanus, who met during studies at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The company, which has offices in Tel Aviv and London, advertises itself as employing former agents from the Mossad, Shin Bet and Military Intelligence; making use of their work methods; and employing them on behalf of private customers. Former Mossad head Meir Dagan was at one point the company’s president.

When Black Cube started working for the IDF, it was still relatively unknown. It had a mere 10-20 employees, versus the more than 100 it has now. Its quick growth actually came in the wake of its multiple scandals, which gained it global news coverage. These included the arrest of employees, leaked internal documents, exposed agents, famous espionage targets and ethical questions regarding the company’s operations. Much of the media coverage was negative, but it boosted the company nonetheless, bringing in customers from around the world, according to sources familiar with the company’s operations.

Black Cube’s representatives have repeated over the years that it does not take on missions that involve governments and it does not represent political players, but rather focuses on civil disputes.

The Defense Ministry’s acknowledgment that it worked with Black Cube is not the first hint that this may not be true.

In 2014, TheMarker revealed that Black Cube had offered its services to the Argentine government. The mission had involved collecting information on the U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management, which took Argentina to court in New York to force it to pay up on bonds that the country had restructured.

Another expose on the TV show Uvda revealed that around 2015, the company had worked for the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, who had refused to hold elections on schedule. The expose said that the company was hired to investigate regime dissidents. Black Cube denied the allegations and sued Uvda in a British court, where proceedings are more complicated and more expensive than in Israel.

In 2016, two Black Cube investigators were arrested in Romania on suspicions of spying. They were allegedly targeting the head of the country’s anti-corruption authority. They were ultimately convicted of harassment and computer hacking.

Thus, it emerges that for Black Cube, the Israeli government was both a customer and a target of investigations. Around the time Black Cube was working with the Defense Ministry, it offered other customers that it spy on former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, former Finance Ministry Accountant General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu, and deputy Attorney General Avi Licht, as Uvda revealed in June. The customer was ICL, controlled by Idan Ofer, which was at odds with the government over how much it should pay for its mining operations.

When the story broke, Black Cube denied being hired by Ofer, but Ofer acknowledged hiring the company. Sources close to Black Cube stated that it had drafted a proposal for him that was never carried out.

Uvda also revealed that the company had been hired by Bezeq Telecommunications to undermine the Communications Ministry’s landline reform, led by then-ministry director general Avi Berger. ... -1.7730485
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Re: Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:40 pm

Israel Police suspect Black Cube broke law in Fishman probe
Trustee for Eliezer Fishman's assets: I never met Black Cube's actual investigators.

Matan Barnir

The Tel Aviv Police fraud squad is investigating suspected fraud offenses and violations of the Private Investigators and Security Services Law allegedly committed by the Israeli Black Cube private intelligence agency and its managers in the company's investigation to trace assets allegedly smuggled by bankrupt businessman Eliezer Fishman.

A petition filed by the police as part of the Fishman bankruptcy case shows that a confidential statement by Black Cube cofounder Avi Yanus to the court raises a suspicion that Black Cube conducted what was for all intents and purposes an intelligence investigation on Israeli territory, not just an investigation based on open sources, in contravention of the company's license under the Private Investigators Law.

In the police investigation, Adv. Joseph Benkel, the trustee for Fishman's assets, was called in to make a statement. Benkel told the Tel Aviv fraud squad that he had hired Black Cube in the investigation that he had conducted to trace Fishman's assets. Benkel suspected that Fishman "or others representing him and on his behalf are concealing assets" for which Benkel was responsible in his position as trustee for Fishman's assets. Benkel's statement also indicates that he decided to hire Black Cube after consulting Adv. Sigal Yakobi, the official receiver.

Benkel said that after hiring Black Cube, he met with Black Cube CEO Dan Zorella; former Israel National Security Council head Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, a senior advisor of Black Cube; Yanus; and Black Cube's legal adviser, who lives in London.

Asked whether he had made sure that Black Cube was licensed as a private investigator, and that its employees were licensed private investigators, Benkel replied, "No, I assumed that the persons actually conducting the investigations were licensed, and I met mainly with the managers and operatives of the people who conducted the investigation."

Benkel added that he had not personally met with the people who actually carried out the investigation, and that he had no reason to think that Black Cube was breaking the law. He made it clear that he would not have concluded an agreement with Black Cube had he known that they were conducting investigations in Israel without an appropriate license.

Following Benkel's statement to the police, the police petitioned Tel Aviv District Court President Judge Eitan Orenstein for permission to view the Fishman bankruptcy case file. Among other things, the police asked for a copy of the agreement between Benkel and Black Cube, which is being kept in the court's safe as a confidential document, and other confidential investigation material given to the court by the trustee as part of his comprehensive investigations of Fishman.

According to the police's petition, the requested documents are necessary in order to "strengthen the evidence against Black Cube, which is suspected of committed offenses through its managers."

Black Cube: A recycled complaint

Black Cube said in response, "This complaint has already been recycled dozens of times in recent years, and 'coincidentally' reappears following every media report involving Black Cube. Its purpose is solely to obtain publicity for the Israel Bureau of Private Investigators, which is apparently afflicted with total boredom, and is dragging the police and the trustee into getting involved with its complaints and into wasting precious resources.

"Black Cube operates legally in every country in which it operates, and takes special care to work legally in Israel with the help of extremely experienced senior legal advisers. Every time this recycled complaint was filed in the past, the company showed all of the agencies involved that its work was irreproachable.

"Black Cube was selected to represent the state in the Fishman case out of six potential companies examined in Israel and abroad, after the legality of its actions and special capabilities was examined. The fact is that the company found tens of millions of euros in assets for the benefit of the public."

Presumption of innocence: the criminal proceedings in this investigation are still only beginning. The suspects involved in the affair are entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Full disclosure: businessman Eliezer Fishman is the previous controlling owner of “Monitin,” which owns a 100% share of "Globes." Fishman and Alona Bar On, one of the current controlling owners, are embroiled in a protracted legal, personal and business dispute.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on August 27, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019 ... 1001298652
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Re: Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:18 am

The Black Cube Chronicles: The Double Agent
How a whistle-blower exposed Harvey Weinstein’s attempts to suppress allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Ronan Farrow
This is the final installment in a three-part series. Read Part I here and Part II here. Support The New Yorker’s award-winning journalism by subscribing here.

For a reporter, there are few things more valuable than an inside source—a whistle-blower who feels ethically compelled to expose an operation from within. In October of 2017, while reporting on sexual-assault accusations against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, I learned that he had hired the Israeli private-intelligence agency Black Cube to surveil his accusers and the journalists trying to tell their stories. I had obtained a list of marks suggesting that the spy agency’s operatives had approached the actress Rose McGowan, the writer Ben Wallace, and me. But I needed confirmation, and that would require an insider outraged enough to risk leaking the full details of the operation.

I blanketed Tel Aviv, where Black Cube was based, with calls and e-mails, asking about the company’s work for Weinstein. There was a formal denial from their freelance publicist, Eido Minkovsky, who flattered his way through our phone calls. “My wife’s seen your pictures,” he said. “There’s no way she’s gonna come to New York. She’s not allowed to. I confiscated her visa.”

“You’re a sweet talker,” I said.

“Yeah, that’s my game,” Minkovsky replied.

Two men close to the Black Cube operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, offered a similar denial. In a series of phone calls, they said that the agency had only done Internet research for Weinstein, and that its operatives had never contacted reporters or accusers. I pressed them about the names on the target list, including McGowan and another actress who had accused Weinstein of assault in my reporting, Annabella Sciorra. (Weinstein has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”) “We never approached any of these,” the man with the deeper of the two voices said. “I also made sure with my team here, any of these you wrote here: Annabella Sciorra… Rose McGowan...” I told them that both Ben Wallace and I suspected that we’d been targeted. “We don’t generally work on journalists as a target,” came the reply. The man with the higher voice swore that they were telling the truth. “We’re Talmud Jews!” he said. “We don’t swear for nothing!” The calls were both ominous and entertaining.

More in the Black Cube Chronicles

Black Cube was founded in 2010, by Dan Zorella and Avi Yanus, two veterans of a secret Israeli intelligence unit. The agency stressed that its tactics had been vetted by attorneys around the world and that it stayed within the letter of the law. (The agency’s agreement with Weinstein specified that all of the firm’s activities would be conducted “by legal means and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”) But others in the private-intelligence world told me that Black Cube had a reputation for flouting rules. In 2016, two of its operatives were jailed in Romania, for intimidating a prosecutor and hacking her e-mails. They were later convicted, and received suspended sentences. One person involved with Black Cube’s operations told me, “it’s impossible to do what they do without breaking the law.” When I asked the head of a competing Israeli private-intelligence firm, who had had dealings with Black Cube, what I should do if I suspected that I was being followed by a Black Cube agent, he said, “Just start running.”

The two men close to the Black Cube operation had promised to send documents that would disprove any claims that Black Cube had followed accusers or reporters. “I will send you the documents today,” the lower voice said. “We’ll use a one-time e-mail or one of our servers.” Thirty minutes after they hung up, a message arrived from the encrypted-messaging service ProtonMail, with documents attached. Another message followed a few hours later, from a different e-mail service, Zmail, with more documents. I assumed that both messages were from the two men close to the Black Cube operation, though the ProtonMail message had an unusually intimate tone. “Hello mutual friend,” it said. “Attached you’ll find new information concerning the HW&BC affair. Best, cryptoadmin.” The ProtonMail account it came from bore the name Sleeper1973.

Attached was an extensive record of Black Cube’s work for Weinstein. The documents included their first contract, signed in late October, 2016, and a revision from July 11, 2017, which extended Black Cube’s work for Weinstein through November of 2017. The later contract directed the spies to “provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY Newspaper,” a reference to reporting on Weinstein by the Times. The contract also directed them to obtain a copy of a memoir that McGowan was writing, which was described as “a book which currently being written and includes harmful negative information on and about the Client.” The agency agreed to hire “an investigative journalist,” and an “agent by the name of ‘Anna’” for four months.

The invoices attached were substantial: the fees, including bonuses, could have reached seven figures. The contracts were signed by Black Cube’s director, Avi Yanus, and by the law firm of Boies Schiller, which represented Weinstein. This was astonishing: Boies Schiller also represented the Times. But there was the signature of the firm’s chairman, David Boies, in blue-inked cursive, on a contract to kill the paper’s own reporting.

The next morning, I called the two men close to the Black Cube operation. I thanked them for sending the documents. They sounded cheerful, confident that what they had sent would exonerate the firm of conducting intrusive surveillance on Weinstein’s behalf. “We did not approach any of these women undercover,” the deeper of the two voices said. “We did not approach any of these journalists undercover.”

Video From The New Yorker

When I began asking questions about the contract that called for those very tactics, they sounded confused. They denied that such a contract existed.“I’m looking at it. It’s on Black Cube’s stationery,” I said. “I’m referring to a document you guys sent me.”

“When you say, ‘we guys,’ what do you mean by ‘we guys?’ ” the deeper voice said, sounding cautious, even worried.

“This was in the binder of documents that you sent to me yesterday,” I said. “Not the second dump from Zmail, but the very first one, from the Sleeper e-mail.”

There was a long silence on the line.

“We did not send you any burner e-mail yesterday,” the deeper voice said. “The only thing we sent you yesterday was from Zmail.”

Realization prickled my skin. The men had promised to send me Black Cube documents from a discreet e-mail account. What was the likelihood that someone would leak a conflicting, and more devastating, tranche of documents at exactly the same time? But that seemed like the only explanation.

Anxious to protect the source, I changed the subject and told the two men that I had authenticated the contracts with David Boies and others. “They are genuine,” I said. There was a touch of panic in the deeper voice. “I . . . I don’t know who sent that,” the man said. Then, collecting himself, he added, “We should do this friendly, I would say.” I wondered what the alternative would look like.

After I got off the phone, I sent an e-mail to the Sleeper1973 address. “Can you give any information that would help authenticate these documents? Some parties involved are denying several pieces of this.” A response arrived immediately: “I’m not surprised they denied it, but it is all true. they were trying to get Rose’s book, via a girl named ‘Ana’ (possibly a HUMINT agent).” Another set of files was attached, which contained a wide range of correspondence and ancillary documents. Over time, these, too, checked out.

My editors asked me to try to learn more about source, whom we started calling Sleeper. “Sleeper1973 is possibly a Woody Allen reference,” I wrote, referring to a film directed by my father and released in 1973. “Which is certainly cheeky.” Someone with a dark sense of humor, then. (I’d publicly criticized my father after my sister accused him of sexual assault. He has denied the allegation.)

Sleeper rebuffed my pleas for an encrypted call or an in-person meeting. “I can understand your editors’ concern although I’m afraid to reveal my identity. Every online method can be monitored these days...its hard for me to trust it wont come back at me,” Sleeper wrote. “I’m sure you know NSO so I’m not interested in taking unnecessary risks.” NSO Group is an Israeli cyber-intelligence firm known for developing software that can take control of a cell phone and strip-mine it for data. According to watchdog groups, the software has been used to target dissidents and journalists around the world. (NSO has said that the software is “not a product to track or surveil dissidents or journalists for doing their job; it’s licensed only for the sole purpose of investigating or preventing crime and terror.”)

Sleeper continued sending information from the encrypted e-mail address, and it always proved accurate. After McGowan told me that she’d spent time only with trusted contacts and couldn’t think of anyone who might have been “Anna,” the undercover operative, I asked Sleeper for help. Another lightning-quick reply: “Regarding Anna, her genuine name is Stella Pen. I’ve attached pictures as well. She allegedly got 125 pages of Rose’s book (as appears on BC’s agreement with Boies), and discussed the findings with HW himself.” Attached were three photos of a statuesque blonde with a prominent nose and high cheekbones. I texted the photos to McGowan and Ben Wallace.

“Oh my God,” McGowan wrote back. “No fucking way.” For months, she had been meeting with the woman in the photos, who had claimed to be a women’s-rights advocate working for a fictional wealth-management firm.

Wallace remembered her immediately, too—she’d posed as a Weinstein victim. “Yes,” he wrote back. “Who is she?”

I presented the evidence from Sleeper to the men close to the Black Cube operation, and they soon dropped their denials. They described, in detail, the efforts that their operative had made to insinuate herself into McGowan’s life. McGowan had been an easy mark. “She was trusting,” the deeper voice explained. “They became very good friends. I’m sure she’s a bit shocked.” McGowan had told the operative that it seemed like everyone in her life was secretly connected to Weinstein. She’d even suspected her lawyers. But, the men told me, “she of course didn’t suspect us.”

As The New Yorker prepared to publish an article revealing the work that Black Cube and other private-investigation firms had done for Weinstein, panic set in at those organizations. Black Cube sent the magazine legal threats, promising to take “appropriate action against you” if we published the Black Cube documents or information from them. Inside the agency, one of the firm’s senior leaders even contemplated destroying the material from the Weinstein investigation. “We wish to dispose of every document and information we possess in regards with this project,” read one e-mail.

The men close to the Black Cube operation said that the agency was frantically hunting for the person who had leaked the contracts and other documents to me. The company was, the deeper voice told me, “investigating everything. All the parties involved, and what was stolen.” Black Cube was also ordering employees to take polygraph tests, and had promised to sue anyone caught lying. “We find it hard to believe that a worker would go on a suicide mission like this,” the higher voice said.

I wrote to Sleeper, worried. “I just want to make sure you are not at risk,” I wrote. “I will do all I can to keep you protected.”

The reply was immediate: “I do appreciate your care. . . Momentarily, I feel safe.”

Just before we published, I made one last attempt to get the source’s identity. In response, Sleeper told me something that made it clear where the documents were coming from—and asked me to keep the secret.

There was also a hint about motive. “I’m an insider who is fed up with BC’s false and devious ways of obtaining material illegally,” Sleeper wrote. “Moreover, in this case, I truly believe HW is a sex offender and I’m ashamed as a woman for participating.”

I paused, processing this revelation. That, in the end, is all that I can tell you about Sleeper, and about the risks that she took to uncover something vast. She was a woman and she’d had enough.

“Lets just say that I will never ever give you something that I cant back you for 100%,” she wrote in one of her final messages to me. “I work in the information industry. World of espionage and endless action. Hope we can actually talk about it some day. The project I’m involved in. . . .out of this world, my dear.”

This excerpt is drawn from “Catch and Kill,” by Ronan Farrow, out this October from Little, Brown and Company.

Ronan Farrow is a contributing writer to The New Yorker and the author of the forthcoming book “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.” His reporting for The New Yorker won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service. ... uble-agent
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Re: Black Cube Israeli Intelligence

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:45 pm

Carole Cadwalladr

If you've read Catch & Kill - & you should - you'll know about Black Cube,the Israeli psyops firm Weinstein employed. Ex-Mossad & IDF types who spied on victims & journalists. But here's what you might not know. Black Cube's first major client? This guy. ... 3084778496

Vincent Tchenguiz settles Black Cube legal dispute
Simon BowersMon 22 Apr 2013 10.02 EDT
This article is more than 6 years old

Hearing to determine claims and counterclaims halted after tycoon settles fraud wrangle with Israeli intelligence experts

Vincent Tchenguiz
Vincent Tchenguiz, a Conservative party donor, had been accused of breaching a contract and leaving £330,000 in bills unpaid. Photograph: Geoff Pugh/Rex Features
Mayfair investment tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has settled a dispute with a band of former Israeli intelligence operatives who had been at the heart of his activities.

The intelligence experts, trading as Black Cube, became important figures in Tchenguiz's inner circle as he pursued international legal claims after the failure of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing in 2008, an event that threatened much of his business empire.

It emerged last week that Tchenguiz, a Conservative party donor, had thrown Black Cube staff out of his Park Lane office and nearby £15m home in February, accusing them of "a wholesale fraud … for a prolonged period". They, in turn, claimed he had breached a contract and left £330,000 in bills unpaid.

Last week the Guardian revealed his employees had secretly recorded private discussions between senior Black Cube executives, attempting to build evidence of alleged fraud.

Tchenguiz had filed a legal claim in Israel against them; meanwhile, Black Cube lodged a claim in the British courts against him.

A hearing to determine where the claims and counterclaims should be heard had been due to take place in London on Monday morning, but was called off at the last minute when a settlement was reach at the weekend and the lawsuits dropped.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but include an undertaking not to discuss further details with the media.

Lawyers for Tchenguiz said in court filings that £820,000 had been paid to Black Cube over 13 months, suggesting this sum was provided for "open source intelligence".

Black Cube describes itself as providing creative intelligence, and operates out of London and Tel Aviv.

Vincent and his brother, Robert Tchenguiz, had been among the biggest borrowers from Kaupthing and, with the help of Black Cube, they fought a series of disputes over what loan collateral they should surrender to the bank's administrators.

At issue had been interests in Vincent Tchenguiz's £2bn UK residential property ground rent portfolio and the company once behind Peverel property management operations. Stakes Robert Tchenguiz had built in J Sainsbury and Mitchells & Butlers, as well as proceeds from the £1.56bn sale of Somerfield supermarkets, had also been claimed as loan security by Kaupthing administrators.

Black Cube also helped successfully demonstrate that a Serious Fraud Office corruption case – examining the brothers' relationship with former senior Kaupthing bankers – was flawed and that grounds for suspecting Vincent Tchenguiz were entirely misunderstood and baseless.

The investigation into the brothers, as well as former Kaupthing bankers, was dropped last year and Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz are seeking £300m in damages from UK taxpayers. ... are_btn_tw

Carole Cadwalladr

...Vincent Tchenguiz. Who as well as being a Conservatives donor was, until Mercers bought in, biggest shareholder of SCL(Cambridge Analytica). (h/t @annmarlowe who did all the early work on this & Holly Watt who puzzled the links to British establishment) ... 3084778496

Tory donors among investors in Cambridge Analytica parent firm
Hilary Osborne
Last modified on Sat 24 Mar 2018 22.56 EDT
This article is more than 1 year old

SCL Group’s shareholders and officers have included two former Tory ministers

Cambridge Analytica
Cambridge Analytica hit the headlines at the weekend over data harvested from 50m Facebook user profiles without permission. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Conservative party donors are among the investors in the company that spawned the election consultancy at the centre of a storm about use of data from Facebook.

Filings for SCL Group, which is at the top of a web of companies linked to Cambridge Analytica, show that since its conception in 2005 its shareholders and officers have included a wine millionaire who has given more than £700,000 to the party, a former Conservative MP, and a peer who was a business minister under David Cameron.

On Wednesday, Theresa May faced questions in the House of Commons over Tory links to the company. “As far as I’m aware the government has no current contracts with Cambridge Analytica or with the SCL Group,” the prime minister said.

Downing Street said that Cambridge Analytica had approached the Conservatives about working for the party, but that the approach had happened “under a previous administration”, and the bid had been rejected.

“An approach was made and the party decided not to take that forward,” May’s spokesperson said.

Later a spokesperson acknowledged that the government had previously held three contracts with SCL Group but said that they had ended well before the current issues. Two of the contracts were undertaken under the last Labour government.

Cambridge Analytica hit the headlines at the weekend after it was revealed that data had been harvested for it from 50m Facebook profiles without the users’ permission. On Monday, undercover reporting by Channel 4 News showed the head of the firm, Alexander Nix, offering covert services to a man he thought was a prospective client.

The US firm is owned by the Mercer family and a UK company called SCL Elections, which is part of the SCL Group.

Until 2015, SCL Group was known as Strategic Communication Laboratories. It was only registered with UK Companies House in 2005, but was mentioned in articles in 2000 about the Indonesian elections.

From its outset as a UK-registered company, SCL Group had investors from the upper echelons of British life. Lord Marland, a successful businessman who became a minister in 2010, held shares personally and through two related investment vehicles, Herriot Limited and a family trust.

Lord Marland.
Lord Marland. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian
Marland said that he had not been involved in running the company, and had refused a request to introduce it to Conservative party HQ.

“I have had very little engagement with the company and in fact am fairly sure I have only met Mr Nix once,” he said.

“I also know very little of their operations as my initial investment was over 10 years ago. As such I had no idea of their Facebook data and am naturally concerned about current events.”

Sir Geoffrey Pattie, a former Conservative defence and industry minister, took a key role in the company for its first three years. In a Guardian article from 2005 he is described fronting the company’s stand – which is “more Orwell than 007” – at a defence show in London. Pattie is shown to have resigned as a director in 2008.

One of Marland’s fellow investors, and the person now registered as having “significant control” over SCL Group, is a Conservative party donor called Roger Gabb.

Gabb, who introduced the Volvic water brand to the UK then went on to make millions selling wines including the Kumala label, now owns more than 25% of the company. At its formation he was named as a shareholder, as was the Glendower Settlement Trust which is linked to him and his wife.

Gabb has given £707,000 to the Tories since 2004, making contributions to the main party and his local Ludlow branch. In 2006 he gave £500,000 to the party, making him one of its largest donors at the time.

He was also a campaigner for Brexit, signing letters on behalf of the campaign as a director of Bibendum Wine, and placing an advert in local newspapers. In October 2016 he was fined £1,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to include his name and address in the advert.

The property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz was also a shareholder via his company Consensus Business Group. Tchenguiz donated £21,500 to the Conservatives between 2009 and 2010.

For eight years from 2005 Consensus Business Group held just under a quarter of the shares in SCL, which was valued at around £4m at the time of the investment.

The firm said it had no role in the running of the company, and had sold off its stake in 2013. It appears that it received around £150,000 for the shares.

In a statement a Consensus Business Group spokesperson said the company was a minority financial investor in SCL and was never involved in the day-to-day management or its operations.

The spokesperson added: “Consensus Business Group invested in SCL in 2005 taking a 24% stake in the business, on the basis that the company developed a major emergency response and strategic communication centres capabilities for clients.

“SCL was one of many investments made by Consensus Business Group between 2002 and 2008. Consensus Business Group lost interest and began negotiations for exit in 2013 and finally sold its stake back to SCL in Q1 2015.”

Julian Wheatland, a close associate of Tchenguiz, was involved with SCL Group from the beginning, and is still a director at the company.

The other main players at SCL Group are Nigel Oakes, an old Etonian from a military family – his father is Maj John Waddington Oakes – and a former boyfriend of Lady Helen Windsor. Oakes had previously set up a company called Behavioural Dynamics which made many similar claims to SCL about its ability to influence voters. In 2000, it worked for the Indonesian president, reportedly without great success.

Nix, a fellow old Etonian, is reported to have joined Oakes at an earlier incarnation of SCL in 2003. Companies House data shows he is linked to 10 firms, which all appear to be linked in some way.

On Wednesday, the Scottish National party’s leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, asked May about her party’s links with SCL, which he said “go on and on”.

“Its founding chairman was a former Conservative MP. A director appears to have donated over £700,000 to the Tory party. A former Conservative party treasurer is a shareholder,” he said.

“Will the prime minister confirm to the house her government’s connections to the company?”

May said the allegations around Cambridge Analytica were “very concerning”. ... are_btn_tw

Carole Cadwalladr

But Black Cube crops up more recently too. When @Channel4News filmed Cambridge Analytica's Alexander Nix undercover, he boasted that he worked with them. And I've had my own uncomfortable brush with them. And by uncomfortable, I mean threatening.

There's a character in @RonanFarrow's book who turned on me. I still don't know why. But then so much I don't know. Meanwhile creepy Israeli psyops firms all over this story. Not just Black Cube, but Psy Group & White Knight. And the hackers, Brittany Kaiser refuses to give up ... 3084778496
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