Murder - Blackmail - Finance Sector
The finance director of an East European branch of a UK company had been found dead locked in his car, in a forested area favoured by lovers, some distance from both his home and normal place of work. The cause of death a single shot to the head.
Having ‘investigated’ the matter, the local police had classified the case as suicide and the matter had been closed. Despite the car being locked and no firearm or suicide note being found either in or near the vehicle.
Having previously worked for the company on another matter, CCC was asked to assist with the investigation, both in relation to the interviewing of employees and the examination of computers used by the deceased. The purpose of which was to establish the real reason for the individual’s death and whether any work-related matters had a bearing.
Once at the regional offices, it soon became clear that the local management appeared resentful and extremely economical with the truth. Preventing access to the victim’s office, stating that the victim’s workstation had been reallocated and that his laptop and mobile phone had gone missing.
It was decided that the only way of getting access to the workstation was to visit the premises when closed overnight and covertly get a forensic copy of the workstation’s hard disk drive for analysis. Having surreptitiously purloined a spare set of office keys and armed with the alarm codes provided by head office, we could get a copy of the hard disk drive with no one knowing.
An analysis of the contents identified:
- Numerous files that had been deleted from the system on the day of our arrival.
- Within the deleted files were several spreadsheets.
- Also found in some file slack were partial elements of falsely created invoices.
- Elements of communication between the victim and others, containing the location where the victim had been found.
Based on information found on the computer and several additional enquiries, it was possible to show that:
- The victim was being blackmailed.
- In order to service the extortion, he had been creating false records, including invoices, to cover the fact that he had been diverting company monies to make the pay-offs.
- The location where the body was found appeared to be the regular meeting place for monies to change hands.
Further analysis of the false invoices identified a loss close to £1 million.
Further investigation into the background of the victim’s background and lifestyle strongly suggested that he had been involved with those ultimately responsible for blackmailing him for a number of years, and that they were closely associated with a local organised crime syndicate. And having reached a stage where he either refused or was unable to make any further payments, he was murdered to preserve the identity of those responsible. This it transpires was also the reason for the Police’s classification of suicide as opposed to murder.
Given the apparent collusion between local police and organised crime, together with other company specific risk factors. No further action has ever been taken.
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