Matrimonial Surveillance

What is Surveillance?

Surveillance and matrimonial surveillance can be best defined as the close observation or scrutiny of an individual or corporate body. It is most recognisably conducted by the Police or Intelligence Agencies, however; it is also frequently utilised by Corporate Intelligence firms to gather evidence to support a criminal prosecution or Civil Litigation.

Conducted properly, it can be highly effective means of uncovering evidence to support an investigation; whether assisting with uncovering hidden assets, seeking evidence in cases of corporate fraud or malfeasance, or supporting a HNW matrimonial dispute.

Covert Surveillance

Covert Surveillance, as the name suggests, is carried out without the subject's knowledge. Most commonly, this involves the deployment of undercover operatives . The number of operatives required for a task will depend upon the complexity of the operating environment and whether or not the subject is surveillance aware, i.e. they suspect they may be a target and take appropriate counter-measures. At one end of the spectrum, a complex scenario could involve observing someone in the centre of London utilising the tube and taxis to move around, whilst simultaneously checking to see if they were being followed, whereas a simple task could involve the observation of a subject in a remote rural location.

Covert Surveillance can be augmented with electronic surveillance measures, however; there is strict legislation governing their use. Unfortunately, modern films have created false expectations as to what can and cannot be achieved in this field and more often than not client expectations have to be managed to keep them the correct side of the law. In such instances, we work with the client to deliver a workable solution, i.e., whereas we may not be able to covertly record a meeting, we may be able to use a professional witness to provide a transcript of proceedings.

The key benefits of surveillance, include:

  • The speed at which information can be obtained.
  • The quality of information that can be gained due to proximity to the target .
  • It can be an incredibly cost effective means of gaining quick actionable intelligence, or leverage, to bring about a speedy resolution to a conflict.

At Matrix Intelligence we are able to deploy highly trained male and female former police, government and military trained operatives and can even deploy former police trained surveillance operatives who are also licenced black cab taxi drivers.

We operate internationally and all of our operations are conducted in full compliance with the current legislation and licensing requirements of the relevant jurisdiction. On completion of every task we submit a comprehensive report together will all recorded footage.

Surveillance in Corporate Fraud

Surveillance is a useful tool to help uncover cases of corporate fraud, or company employees conducting activities contrary to their employment status or against the best interests of their Employer. Common scenarios include:

  • Employees stealing and selling corporate assets, trade secrets and intellectual property.
  • Employees ‘moonlighting’ for a competitor.
  • Employees misusing company assets.
  • Fraudulent insurance & erroneous employment law claims.

If you suspect any of the above scenarios, Matrix Intelligence are able to act swiftly and with discretion to uncover the facts. We can help you to minimise your losses, obtain evidence to assist with asset recovery and the restoration of your brand reputation.

An example of our expertise in this field was proven when we were engaged by a FTSE 250 financial institution who tasked us to trace the whereabouts of one of their key employees. The individual was a senior Executive Director who had effectively disappeared for a number of days without any explanation and had worryingly ceased all communication. Aside from his personal well-being, they were concerned that he was in possession of highly sensitive information pertaining to a large ongoing trade.

Initially, using traditional investigative means, we quickly located the subject in a Monaco hotel. The client then requested that we monitor and assess his movements over a 5-day period.

Over that period, our multi-disciplined investigation including appropriate Surveillance enabled us to gather actionable evidence for our client, primarily and most importantly, that the subject had conducted several meetings with one of the clients main competitors. Furthermore, we also discovered that he was also divulging confidential and sensitive information, a clear breach of his contract, in an attempt to secure employment with the rival firm.

Our comprehensive evidential report was forwarded to the client, who, based on the investigations findings, immediately instructed their solicitors who instigated legal proceedings, which resulted in the client managing to salvage the ongoing trade initiative and avoiding potential reputational damage to them.

Matrimonial Surveillance 

Matrimonial matters are always sensitive and very often acrimonious and the need for absolute discretion in this area is paramount. Matrix Intelligence always act discreetly and above all, we protect client confidentiality at all times. Our services have proved invaluable in support of HNW Matrimonial disputes, especially in cases where one party has gone to considerable lengths to conceal their Assets and Lifestyle.

When one party suspects the other may be cheating, are considering Divorce proceedings, or are in the process of a divorce or a child custody battle, Matrix Intelligence can help to uncover actionable intelligence with matrimonial surveillance to support the case.

Limitations of Surveillance

Surveillance is generally governed by both The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and The Data Protection Act, however; reference to the following bodies and acts is also recommended: The 1998 Wireless Telegraphy Act, which covers the use of discreet or hidden recording devices and The Lawful Business Practice Regulations Act, which covers the monitoring of employee behaviour; typically computer and telephone usage.

RIPA came into force on the same day in 2000 as the Human Rights Act and provides a legal basis for various covert investigatory techniques, which limits and controls powers to record, monitor and gather information on members of the public and protect employee privacy.

Images of people are covered by the Data Protection Act, as is information about people which is derived from images, i.e. vehicle registration numbers. Most uses of CCTV by organisations or businesses will be covered by the Act.

It is imperative to note that the authorisation to use intrusive surveillance can only be given by the Home Secretary, a Chief Constable, the director of the National Crime Agency (Formerly The Serious Organised Crime Agency) or another designated official from NCA), designated officials from HM Revenue and Customs and the chairman of the Office of Fair Trading and is only a recourse for the Police and relevant Security Agencies. Corporate intelligence companies cannot operate in this arena.

Can Drones be employed to Conduct Surveillance?

Dispute their increasingly common use by paparazzi and private individuals, there are legal and ethical implications to consider if using a camera drone for surveillance. The most obvious concern is the privacy risk to other people - if a drone has a camera, its use has the potential to be covered by the Data Protection Act (DPA).

Guidance from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) recommends that users of drones with cameras should operate them in a responsible way to respect the privacy of others. Although a form of guidance, this is perhaps little more than wishful thinking by the Commissioner and the law governing drone surveillance needs tightening to bring it in line with Data Protection.

The prudent approach is to acknowledge that the UK is very clear and advanced in its approach to privacy rules and the protection of privacy. If all UK police forces have to be ‘Surveillance Camera Code Compliant‘ following Home Office regulatory guidance Pursuant to Section 30 (1) (a) of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, it would be folly not to operate within the same guidelines.

What to do if you think you are the target of Surveillance?

If an individual has reason to believe they may be under surveillance, or are concerned about activity such as:

  • A company merger or acquisition,
  • Protracted Divorce Proceedings or a Family Inheritance Dispute,
  • A possible company fraud,
  • Unwanted Media intrusion;

Matrix Intelligence can advise on the best strategy to counter this. By employing physical and electronic counter-surveillance practices, we will be able to ascertain whether or not you are under surveillance and ensure that the privacy of your business and personal life remains secure. If you are under surveillance, we may be able to ascertain who is conducting this and gather evidence to expose them or use as leverage.

Electronic Counter-Measures

As previously stated, the use of electronic surveillance devices is governed by strict legislation, however; that does not mean such devices are not easily and cheaply purchased online and used prolifically by unscrupulous actors. Examples of commonly utilised devices include: listening devices, covert/hidden cameras, vehicle tracking devices and Spyware on Phones, Tablets, PCs and Laptops.

Fortunately, Technical Counter Surveillance Measures, or ‘bug sweeping’, is a highly effective method of detecting this and it can be a relatively inexpensive process.

If you have cause for concern, we can rapidly deploy highly trained operatives with state of the art equipment to sweep your home, offices, car or electronic equipment.

Corporate Intelligence Experts

At Matrix we deliver reliable, actionable intelligence for a portfolio of clients, including: lawyers, third party funders, financial firms, corporate clients and HNW individuals.

We have managed to differentiate ourselves within a competitive environment by amassing considerable expertise in the provision of human intelligence (HUMINT).

From Pre-transactional or Financial Due Diligence, gathering intelligence to support and develop a litigation strategy to Multi-jurisdictional Asset Tracing, we pride ourselves on delivering bespoke solutions and have an outstanding track record of delivery.

Before accepting any case, we conduct a preliminary Investigation to ensure that our proposal is fully deliverable and accurately costed. Once instructed, we start by prioritising and phasing our work to ensure the most effective use of funds.

Whilst Headquartered in London, we operate internationally and have exceptional capabilities in Eastern Europe, all offshore banking jurisdictions, the Americas and select Middle Eastern and African countries. We have a worldwide network of trusted sources and partners and are internationally acknowledged as Corporate Intelligence experts.


Litigation Support Insight

Litigation Support – The Basics

The dependability of the judiciary, world-class judicial protocols and the unrivalled expertise of specialist legal counsel has seen London recognised as the hub of choice for litigation support, both for British and increasingly international cases.

With this increase in proceedings both HNW litigants and international lawyers are turning to litigation support professionals whose areas of specialist expertise is often not available by in-house teams.

Litigation support professionals carry out in-depth investigations examining the minutiae of the case long before any decision is made to go forward with court action; identifying hitherto unknown or unavailable witnesses, initiating background checks on all parties to any proposed litigation and asset identification should proceedings go forward and be successful, to ensure judgement can be fully enforced.

Our Litigation Support Expertise

With over a decade’s experience, Matrix Intelligence are recognised experts in Litigation Support providing background intelligence and crucial information delivered in a concise, factual and court-ready format. This coupled with our considerable experience and thorough knowledge of both British and international jurisdictions has positioned us as the preferred litigation support partner for clients worldwide.

Our pre-litigation reporting has gone on to prove indispensable for our instructing clients, predominantly, but not exclusively law firms and litigation funders, primarily by assessing whether an opponent is worth pursuing with costly litigation and where court action is pursued providing ongoing intelligence to ensure our clients continue to have all the facts at their disposal. Where multiple parties are involved we carry out the same checks to determine whether some defendants are financially stronger than others in the case.

Of course, no two cases are ever the same and we pride ourselves in providing support individually specified to our clients exact requirement. Our pre-court and litigation support extends to complete profiling of the individual subject including court admissible asset tracing with a full wealth assessment report, background and reliability checks, corporate and political affiliations and reputational red flags.

Our Pre-Litigation Reports include:

  • Passport and ID verification
  • Global identity and address verification
  • Compliance and financial checks
  • Civil litigation, criminal and court searches
  • Corporate affiliations and red flags
  • International fraud and sanctions
  • Email verification and fraud check
  • Adverse media search
  • Address and lifestyle enquiries.

Matrix Intelligence are unparalleled in retrieving both OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and HUMINT (Human Intelligence). Our open source protocols enable us to retrieve data from land registries, corporate records and databases many of which are notoriously difficult to access. Combined with the use of HUMINT, we can quickly identity any corporate or personal malfeasance providing legal reference for our clients to focus their litigation and at the same time reducing cost and timeframes.

We provide pre-litigation reports on a fixed fee basis and support lawyers throughout the life of the case. Matrix adds value to the legal service offerings by placing a range of investigative capabilities at their disposal.

While we are headquartered in London, we have exceptional multi-jurisdictional capabilities in 148 countries with specific expertise in Eastern Europe, Russia & Former CIS countries, select countries in the Middle East and Africa, and all offshore banking jurisdictions.

Litigation Support Case Study

We were engaged by a client to conduct a Pre-Litigation report on a Chinese debtor resident in the UK who had entered into a loan agreement with our client for the sum of GBP 10,000 and subsequently defaulted. Our initial task was to locate the debtor and ascertain their assets.

It was not possible to trace the debtor with the precise information provided by the client, however; using variants of the subject’s surname, we were able to positively identify them and their current whereabouts.

Our investigation revealed that the subject had one potential asset charged by a lender, one Unilateral Notice Charging Order issued by Central London County Court and three unsatisfied monetary judgements totalling nearly GBP 70,000.

Based on the Intelligence that we established, our Client was able to make an informed decision as to whether to issue proceedings, obtain a judgement and join the other charge holders on the property.

Engage us

Whether you are a law firm or a litigation funder, Matrix Intelligence has the reputation and international expertise to support your case. To discuss exactly how we can assist your specific case then please contact us on +44 (0) 203 873 1089 or via our email at info@matrix-intelligence.com.


Enhanced Background Screening

Importance of Enhanced Background Screening

As businesses and corporate bodies become ever more aware of their online reputation and more and more personal data becomes available, particularly via the internet, the importance of Enhanced Background Screening has become paramount to any corporation.

An inappropriate candidate can have a significant impact on a business and its all-important brand reputation. With occupational fraud taking 5% off a typical organisation’s annual revenue and over 60% of all job application information stretched in some way to earn the employer’s approval, the importance of a comprehensive background check cannot be emphasised enough.

Background checks have become such a critical factor in the pre-employment process, so much so that 96% of all employers now specify them. The purpose of any background screening has evolved as employers strive to hire talented and appropriate individuals.

As effective Background Screening has to involve the verification of a candidate's credentials and it can only be carried out with their full written authorisation, therefore employers must fully comply with any local background screening laws, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, as failure to comply with these regulations can result in lawsuits and severe financial penalties.

At Matrix Intelligence we carry out Enhanced Background Checking for a variety of clients, internationally. Our protocols start with the analysis and subsequent verification of a potential employee's CV and in turn their personal, educational and professional background and online reputation. Where no CV has been provided, we focus on the candidate's online media profile and reputation.

In many jurisdictions, local data protection regulations prohibit either employers or educational institutions from providing any personal information on any individual without having received appropriate authority. To overcome this hurdle, employers should always incorporate a full authority request within their individual employment applications.

Western, Central and Eastern European countries generally have more restrictive data protection regulations than the United States, the Far East and Africa. By contrast, the United States has a wealth of available public record data that can be obtained from proprietary databases.

Matrix specializes in maintaining and constantly updating its knowledge of the availability of each type of information in each of the countries that it operates in.

Additional enquiries can of course be conducted with referees suggested by the candidate, however Matrix generally avoids this, instead preferring to conduct enquiries directly with individuals identified in the course of our Background Research as referees provided by the candidate will invariably only provide positive feedback and in some cases may have even have been told what to say by the candidate.

The Key Benefits of Background Screening

  • Ensure you only employ candidates with integrity and the right credentials.
  • Deter those that have a wish to cause harm to the reputation of your business.
  • Detect more determined individuals at the recruitment/application stage.
  • Deny or flag-up individuals unsuitable for employment in certain roles.
  • Save recruitment costs by employing the correct person for the role.

Enhanced Background Screening

For senior executive candidates, Matrix recommends Enhanced Background Screening, which involves fully examining an individual’s education, employment record and credit status and where necessary and as required by the employer, criminal records checks.

These checks are now frequently used by Employers as a means of judging an individual's past mistakes, character and to help identify any potential hiring risks for safety or security reasons.

At Matrix, our Enhanced Background Screening & research is provided using a proven combination of multi-language Open Source [OSINT] research and targeted Human Source [HUMINT] enquiries.

Matrix also conducts independent human source enquiries [HUMINT] with individuals who are in a position to comment on the candidate’s professional and personal reputation, work record, management style and personality.

Open source [OSINT] research involves the use of electronic and physical corporate registries, print and electronic media archives, litigation databases, credit reference databases, global regulatory and compliance databases and the Internet. Research is conducted in any language that is relevant to each country.

Targeted Human Source [HUMINT] enquiries are conducted with a wide range of individuals who are in a position to comment authoritatively on a candidate’s personal and professional reputation. These generally include former colleagues, former business partners and industry peers.

For high-level background screening, Matrix generally confirms the past ten years of a candidate’s employment history. If required, a longer period can also be covered. Both levels of service also include the analysis of any gaps in employment in excess of 90 days.

In cases where certain information is not available from Open Sources our extensive regional network ensures that such information can often be obtained by well-placed human sources.

Background Checks and Availability of Information

Matrix conducts the following checks as part of any High-Level Background Check assignment:

  • Verification of education
  • Verification of employment
  • Criminal record checks (wherever possible)
  • Analysis of corporate affiliations (directorships, shareholdings and company representation, i.e. as a trustee or through power of attorney)
  • Media and Internet review
  • Litigation history checks
  • Discreet human source enquiries
  • Reputational “red flags”
  • Political risk “red flags”

Matrix Intelligence conducts High-Level Background Screening assignments on a best-effort basis, meaning that every effort will be made to cover all of the checks listed above. In some cases, where this is not possible due to data protection regulations or the lack of such information in a particular country, this will be fully outlined before Matrix commences work on the assignment.

To identify potential political red-flags, Matrix conducts an in-depth review of the candidate's extended personal and professional networks along with discreet Human Source [HUMINT] enquiries to determine whether the candidate is known to be linked to any government officials or to be a member of a radical or extremist political party.

Our Jurisdiction

Matrix Intelligence is headquartered in London but has strategic and extensive coverage of every country in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, both in-house and with our regional network of field agents and information providers.

In addition, Matrix has excellent coverage of the Unites States, SE Asia and the Far East and Africa. The company’s global network of contacts, comprising the combined contact lists of the company’s managing directors and key senior personnel built over more than a decade of industry experience, extends as far as the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

About Matrix Intelligence – Corporate Intelligence Experts

Working with lawyers, third party funders, financial firms, corporate clients and HNW individuals Matrix delivers Reliable Actionable Intelligence. We operate internationally and have exceptional capabilities in Eastern Europe, all Offshore Banking jurisdictions and select Middle Eastern and African countries.


Complex due diligence

Global Risk Management Company

“I have engaged Matrix Intelligence on numerous occasions over recent years to conduct detailed due diligence tasks in complicated environments.  On each occasion Matrix has taken a measured and deliberate approach to the feasibility phase of the engagement to ensure that when they commit they have the confidence that the final product will meet my satisfaction.  On each occasion, I have been impressed by the diligence invested and the faithful adherence to the original requirement and timeline.  It has meant that I can make critical business decisions with confidence and in time.”

Managing Director


Complex due diligence

City Law Firm

“Matrix has assisted us with various due diligence projects for our clients.  In an industry where there is a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver, Matrix offers a refreshing alternative.  The work product delivered by Matrix has been professional, comprehensive, and in line with our client’s expectations.  It is clear that before a fee is proposed, proper consideration has been given to the appropriate scope of an investigation, what can realistically be achieved, and where the pitfalls lie.  Stuart’s extensive knowledge and contact base is particularly helpful when dealing with cross-jurisdictional investigations, and there appear to be few places left in the world that Matrix cannot cover.  We will continue to recommend Matrix’s services to our clients.”

Solicitor


covert surveillance

Surveillance & vetting

FTSE 250 International Outsourcing Company

"We have used Matrix Intelligence as part of our value-added offering to our most valued clients. These services include physical security penetration testing, security threat alert briefings, security audit reviews, vetting, surveillance and counter surveillance. Our clients have been highly impressed with the level of professionalism encountered and the detailed knowledge and advice provided by Matrix. I would highly recommend on every level."

Strategic Retention Managing Director


Due diligence & surveillance

Global Entrepreneur

"I have continuously used Matrix’s services on every level of my business, including: due diligence on prospective business opportunities, covert surveillance, TSCM, cyber security and business intelligence. I would consider Matrix as an integral part of the day to day running of my business and would not consider into entering into any transaction or new business venture without first consulting them."

High net worth individual


Enhanced background screening

Executive Director

"Matrix Intelligence regularly provides us with efficient services customized to our needs.  We do recommend them to anyone who is looking for qualified and dedicated experts in the field of corporate intelligence."

International Real Estate Company


Pre-transactional Due Diligence

Pre-litigation support

Partner

"We used Matrix for the first time earlier this year to carry out some litigation enquires. They provided us with an excellent in-depth report which was a real game-changer.

We now regularly instruct Matrix for all of our due diligence and pre-litigation enquires. They are extremely efficient in what they do and always deliver. I cannot recommend them highly enough."

International Law Firm