A global investigation firm has conducted a high-profile investigation which demonstrates the importance of combining emerging market data with corporate and litigation information.
Our client conducted due diligence on an individual featured on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, for wire and securities fraud. As a result of their research using Arachnys Investigator, our client found that the individual operates under a second identity utilized in the UAE.
[Some of this information has been redacted for client anonymity]
The purpose of the client’s research was to produce ‘pattern-of-life’ and human network information for the individual. Preliminary research identified the UAE as their most likely country of residence. Therefore, the client focused their research on corporate, legal, regulatory and media resources (an area where Arachnys is particularly strong). Once his business and personal relationships were mapped, the client acquired documentation of his citizenship and residency to confirm the location.
The key finding in their case was the alias identity. The individual is currently living in the UAE under a second identity by acquiring an Egyptian passport, with an alternate name but his true date of birth. He maintains a resident’s card.
He is the majority owner of a Dubai-based private equity investment management company, specializing in foreign exchange trading. A member of the Abu Dhabi royal family is a minority interest shareholder. An executive in the Abu Dhabi government and a distant relative of the ruler of Abu Dhabi is chairman. He also has minority interests in an investment firm and a film and media production company, both in Dubai. Since the individual controls more than 50% of an Emirates-based company, the client believes the individual acquired secondary citizenship in a Gulf Cooperation Council country.
Alleged Investment Scam
The private equity investment management company owned by the individual has prevented its investors from making withdrawals from their accounts since August 2015. Numerous clients and former employees of the firm claim that $25 million has gone missing from the accounts. The firm has slightly changed its name, but uses the same marketing materials and logos(!).
The key discovery was a corporate entity registered in New Zealand until February 2014. The firm appears to the corporate vehicle for an investment fund. The individual registered with this entity in May 2011 under his real name and a false US address, but lists his alias name on marketing materials. The firms’s shares were transferred to a Belize-based entity in June 2011. His brother previously served as director of the firm between 2011-2014, and has an open complain in a civil court suggesting he continues to live in the US. Both brothers and their parents all have significant criminal records in Florida.
The private equity firm at the centre of the claim had named a Florida entity in which it had invested. However, the only entity which matches the name is registered in a different location, to an unknown individual. A company with a similar name is registered to the individual’s brother in the correct location. Both companies are registered less than 30 miles apart on the southeast coast of Florida.
Using Investigator, the client discovered that there are 3 other entities of the same name in New Jersey (where the individual and his brothers were born and raised) Delaware (presumably for the limited public disclosure requirements for corporate registrations) and New Zealand (to create an investment entity). Via this discovery, they were able to demonstrate that the two firms were likely being used as a mechanism for funneling funds from the individual in the UAE to the other family members who continue to reside in the US. They corroborated these findings with OSI techniques, to find a substantial online presence in both the individual’s true and alias names across a broad range of social media.
Profile checkers or news media coverage alone would never have produced this finding - the news articles relate to the aforementioned investment fraud, and, in the U.S, almost exclusively of his encounters with law enforcement. The ability to corroborate news media with corporate & litigation information within the same platform, in the UAE and New Zealand, was the key to producing results.