Black Cube

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Black Cube
Private Limited Company
Industry Litigation Support
Competitive Intelligence
Risk Consulting
Founded 2010
Headquarters Tel Aviv & London
Number of employees
100+
Website blackcube.com

Black Cube is a private intelligence agency, which is based in London, Paris and Tel Aviv,[1] and is the trading name of BC Strategy Ltd.[2] The company was founded in 2010[3] by former Israeli intelligence officers[4] Dan Zorella (in Hebrew: דן זורלא) and Avi Yanus (in Hebrew: אבי ינוס). Its employees include former members of Israeli intelligence units, including Aman, Mossad and Shin Bet, as well as legal and financial experts.

Black Cube’s main business is "litigation support", in which the company provides intelligence, evidence and advisory services in multi-jurisdictional legal and criminal cases.[2]

Notable projects[edit]

Beginning in 2011, Black Cube provided intelligence services to Vincent Tchenguiz in a number of cases, including Tchenguiz’s fight against the UK Serious Fraud Office,[2] following his arrest as part of the SFO investigation into the collapse of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.[5] Black Cube analysed the network of relationships surrounding the collapse of the bank,[4] and helped build a successful challenge to the SFO arrests and search warrants, causing the judge to declare the SFO’s actions unlawful in 2013.[6] Following this investigation the SFO was ordered by the court to pay over £3m to Tchenguiz in 2014, and to issue a formal apology.[7][8]

In 2014, Black Cube were hired by Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner, to examine a court decision assigning control of IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) to Motti Ben Moshe.[2] Black Cube investigated the sources of capital of Ben Moshe, revealing an ongoing investigation by German regulatory authorities into Ben Moshe’s company ExtraEnergy,[9] and locating a witness who held evidence of money laundering and tax evasion by Ben Moshe.[10]

Black Cube was hired to assist Kfar Gildai Quarries in their highly publicised dispute with Caeserstone (NASDAQ:CSTE). Black Cube engaged a Caesarstone engineer in conversation during a group bicycle trip in Kfar Giladi.[6] In the recording, the engineer contradicted the allegations that were made by Ceaserstone in the arbitration proceeding with Kfar Giladi. After six years of deliberations, Judge Boaz Okun ordered Caeserstone to pay more than $14m as compensation to Kfar Giladi. [11]

In 2015, Black Cube assisted Taiwanese businessman Nobu Su, owner of the shipping company TMT, in his efforts to gain permission to appeal a 2014 judgement in favour of Lakatamia Shipping [12] in which Su was found personally liable for the amount of almost $47m.[13] Black Cube delivered intelligence to Su’s legal team showing that 20% of the judgement amount was due to a company called Slagen Shipping, which had ceased operations at the time of the establishment of the claim, thereby rendering it unable to act as a claimant, both reducing the quantum of the judgement significantly, and causing the appeal to be granted.[14]

In 2016, Black Cube was involved in exposing bribery and corruption in a set of Italian arbitrations between AmTrust (NASDAQ:AFSI) and an Italian named Antonio Somma totalling €2bn.[15] Somma admitted to the company's undercover agents that he could control the arbitration panels,[16] and that he had an agreement to pay the chair of the arbitration panel 10% of any money they awarded him.[17] Following Black Cube's findings, the arbitrator was dismissed and in July 2016, the two sides reached a settlement on the total of 60 million euros instead of the initial 2 billion euro claim.[18]

In 2016, Black Cube was hired by Rami Levy, the owner of Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing (TASE:RMLI) who is considered a champion of low prices in Israel,[19] to verify his suspicions that he was being targeted by a rival chain in a negative media campaign. Black Cube provided Levy with evidence that the PR agent who worked for Levy's competitor, Victory supermarket chain, exposed the negative campaign that they carried out aimed at damaging Levy's public reputation. Levy later used those materials in a lawsuit against his competitor.[20]

In 2016, Alstom (EPA:ALO) and Afcon (TASE:AFHL) hired Black Cube’s services in order to assist them with their dispute against the Israel Railways’ electrification bid, which the Spanish company SEMI won. Black Cube presented recordings of officials from the Israel Railway discussing malfunctions that occurred in the bid. Based on these findings, in January 2018, the Superior Court in Israel issued an agreement of compromise according to which the work on the railway will be divided between all three of the companies and that Black Cube’s clients’ work will be priced at 580 million NIS, after they originally lost the bid.[21]

In 2017, Gefen Biomed (TASE:GEFEN) filed a NIS 60 million lawsuit which claims that entrepreneurs Moshe (Mori) Arkin and others deliberately misled or deceived minority shareholders in biomed company cCam Biotherapeutics. The lawsuit is based on evidence collected by Black Cube, which conducted recorded interviews with key figures in cCam that prove a deliberate and systematic attempt to conceal exit talks with Merck (NYSE:MRK) for up to $625 million.[22]

Specialising in Asset Tracing and analysis of offshore companies and trusts, Black Cube was hired by Bank Hapoalim[23] (TASE: POLI) to trace the assets of Motti Zisser, who left behind a high debt to the bank. Black Cube provided intelligence of many assets in Europe which were transferred from Mr. Zisser to his son David through a sophisticated network of shell companies. Networks of hotels in Brussels, a hotel and mall district in Amsterdam, apartments in Strasbourg and a company in Hong Kong were located, among others. As a result of the intelligence gathered by Black Cube, Bank Hapoalim was granted an injunction that applies an effective freeze on all the companies of the Zisser Family. At the end of a legal process, the two parties came to a settlement in February 2018, according to which Zisser’s heirs would pay nearly 95 million NIS to Bank Hapoalim.[24]

Controversies[edit]

In 2013, Black Cube filed a lawsuit in the UK against Vincent Tchenguiz for unpaid invoices and breach of contract. Concurrently, Tchenguiz filed a lawsuit in Israel against Black Cube, alleging fraudulent invoices, an allegation denied by Black Cube. Both lawsuits were dropped in a settlement agreement, the details of which are undisclosed.[25]

In April 2016, two of the company employees were arrested in Bucharest on suspicions of spying, phishing and cyber harassing the chief prosecutor of the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate, Laura Codruța Kövesi and people close to her. The two employees were eventually convicted on charges of hacking and harassment.[26][27] After sentencing, the company reached an understanding with the Romanian authorities and the two employees were released and returned to Israel after a few months.[28] At the time of the arrest, Black Cube denied any wrongdoing, saying that they were working under contract from the highest political powers in Bucharest and that "all of Black Cube’s employees follow local law to the letter, and the allegations against them are unfounded and untrue".[29] The Romanian government and Romanian Police denied the existence of any such contract.[30]

In November 2017, Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker that film executive Harvey Weinstein hired Black Cube in order to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against him. Using false identities, private investigators from Black Cube tracked and met journalists and actresses, in particular Rose McGowan, who later publicly accused Weinstein of rape. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had Black Cube and other agencies "target, or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories."[31][32][33]

In November 2017, Black Cube set up a fake recruitment firm, and flew an employee and a former employee of a hedge fund company to London for fake job interviews, in order to gain proprietary information about the hedge fund, according to The New York Times. Black Cube refused to comment. In New York State, private investigators are required to be licensed, but the Times couldn't find a record of a license for Black Cube or B.C. Strategy.[34]

In March 2018, Black Cube and Cambridge Analytica each denied a Cambridge Analytica ex-employee’s statement that the company had hired Black Cube's services. In April 2018, Brittany Kaiser, a senior manager at Cambridge Analytica affirmed the denials and testified in front of the British Parliament that Black Cube is not the company they worked with.[35][36]

In May 2018, Black Cube was accused of using false identities to seek damaging information about former Obama administration officials and help the Trump administration undermine the Iran nuclear deal.[37] Black Cube has responded by stating that it has no relation to the Trump administration, to Trump aides or to the Iran nuclear deal.[38] In August 2018, The New Yorker connected Black Cube's research to a memo which circulated in the Trump White House in early 2017 and alleged that former Obama officials were conspiring with reporters "to undermine President Trump's foreign policy" to save Obamacare and the Iran deal.[39]

International Advisory Board[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Contact Us | Black Cube". www.blackcube.com/contact/. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Efrat Peretz, "Investigating thee investigators" Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. "Globes" 3 February 2014
  3. ^ Shuki Sadeh, "Don’t cry for me" "Haaretz" 8 August 2014
  4. ^ a b c Liz Bolshaw, "A new breed of commercial intelligence company" "The Financial Times" 26 March 2015
  5. ^ Business Desk "Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz arrested in Iceland probe" "BBC" 10 March 2011
  6. ^ a b "Inside Black Cube - The "Mossad" of the Business World - Forbes Israel". Forbes Israel. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2018. 
  7. ^ "The Serious Fraud Office and Vincent Tchenguiz announce settlement of civil claims". Serious Fraud Office. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  9. ^ Efrat Peretz, "Dankner: German regulator probing Ben-Moshe" Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. "Globes" 30 January 2014
  10. ^ Efrat Peretz, "Dankner accuses Ben-Moshe of money laundering" Archived 26 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. "Globes" 13 March 2014
  11. ^ "CaesarStone to pay Kfar Giladi NIS 50m compensation - Globes English". Globes. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  12. ^ Unknown Author, "Nobu Su Fights Back Against Lakatamia" "ACN Newswire" 9 January 2015
  13. ^ Unknown Author, "Gone to the dogs?" "Tradewinds" 7 November 2014
  14. ^ Japan Corporate News, "Headway for Nobu Su" "Nasdaq" 14 April 2015
  15. ^ "When Doing Business in Italy Means a Box of Bullets in the Mail". Bloomberg.com. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2018. 
  16. ^ Corriere della Sera, "Il lodo da 2 miliardi in Tribunale Corruzione o calunnia per l’arbitro" 14 April 2016
  17. ^ B1, "Black Cube dezvăluie cel mai mare caz de corupție judiciară din Italia" 16 April 2016
  18. ^ "Pace milionaria, salvo il broker Antonio Somma - Transazione tra AmTrust e l'assicuratore stabiese con un giro di affari all'estero". Il Corrierino (in Italian). Retrieved 30 May 2018. 
  19. ^ "Who is Rami Levy and why investors love him". Jewish Business News. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  20. ^ "Rami Levy allegedly targeted by rival chain in negative media campaign - Business". haaretz.com. Retrieved 10 October 2016. 
  21. ^ "Israel High Court Splits Disputed $500M Rail Power Contract". Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  22. ^ "Lawsuit claims Arkin misled eCam shareholders - Globes English". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  23. ^ "Black Cube - a "Mossad-style" business intelligence co - Globes English". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 18 February 2018. 
  24. ^ "Zisser's heirs to pay Hapoalim NIS 95m after Black Cube uncovers assets - Globes English". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  25. ^ Bowers,, Simon (22 April 2013). "Vincent Tchenguiz settles Black Cube legal dispute". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  26. ^ "Israeli citizen gets probation after pleading guilty in espionage case in Romania". 
  27. ^ "Israeli convicted for targeting Romania's anti-corruption chief". 
  28. ^ "Black Cube - a "Mossad-style" business intelligence co". Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 22 May 2017. 
  29. ^ "Report Claims Romania Investigating 4 Israelis for Spying" "Algemeiner" 6 April 2016
  30. ^ Attila Somfalvi, Itamar Eichner "Employees of Israeli business intelligence firm Black Cube is suspected of spying on the director of Romania's Anticorruption Directorate; company denies allegations." "Israel News" 9 April 2016
  31. ^ Ronan Farrow, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies. New Yorker 6 November 2017 https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/harvey-weinsteins-army-of-spies
  32. ^ Harvey Weinstein Hired ex-Mossad Agents to Track Women Accusing Him of Sexual Assault. Haaretz 7 November 2017 https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.821445
  33. ^ Jim Rutenberg. 7 November 2017. “Report Details Weinstein’s Covert Attempt to Halt Publication of Accusations New York Times” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/us/harvey-weinstein-new-yorker.html?_r=0
  34. ^ Deception and Ruses Fill the Toolkit of Investigators Used by Weinstein. By MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM. New York Times. 15 November 2017
  35. ^ Brittany Kaiser. "Written testimony to the Fake News Inquiry" (PDF). Retrieved 7 May 2018. 
  36. ^ Sputnik. "'There Were Chinese Walls': Ex-Cambridge Analytica Employee Testifies". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 18 April 2018. 
  37. ^ Farrow, Ronan (6 May 2018). "Israeli Operatives Who Aided Harvey Weinstein Collected Information on Former Obama Administration Officials". The New Yorkers. Retrieved 7 May 2018. 
  38. ^ Tibon, Amir (7 May 2018). "More Details on Israeli Spy Firm Black Cube's 'Ops Against ex-Obama Officials' Revealed". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 May 2018. 
  39. ^ Entous, Adam; Farrow, Ronan (23 August 2018). "The Conspiracy Memo About Obama Aides That Circulated in the Trump White House". The New Yorker. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  40. ^ "Advisory Board | Black Cube". www.blackcube.com. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  41. ^ "Black Cube | Creative Intelligence | BlackCube". blackcube.com. Retrieved 26 August 2017. 
  42. ^ "Advisory Board | Black Cube". www.blackcube.com. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  43. ^ Unknown Author, "Mati Leshem appointed CEO of Auto-Center" "The Marker" 20 February 2007
  44. ^ "Ephraim (Ephy) Yerushalmy - Director of Corporate Affairs at KETER GROUP". www.yatedo.com. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  45. ^ "Advisory Board | Black Cube". www.blackcube.com. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  46. ^ a b c d https://www.jc-bingo.com/details/00AA788F/blackcube-com
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  48. ^ "Business Profiles and Company Information - ZoomInfo.com". www.zoominfo.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  49. ^ "Spy Firm Black Cube Adds Former Israeli Police Chief to Advisory Board". CTECH - www.calcalistech.com. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018. 
  50. ^ "ISRAEL : Black Cube lands security heavyweight". Intelligence Online. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018. 

External links[edit]