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The following news item has appeared in the Financial Herald, a leading business newspaper.
Logistics chief hired ex-SAS officers to spy on rival

Five years ago, the logistics industry was upended by the entry into the market of a brash new player, EuroJIT. Within a short time, EuroJIT won a significant amount of business from leading manufacturers, especially in the automobile sector, by submitting very competitive bids. Although EuroJIT attributed its success to its more modern, technology-driven approach to logistics and industrial supply, many were sceptical.

Much of EuroJIT’s success came at the expense of National Logistics and Planning plc (National), which was at the time the largest player in the market. The Financial Herald can now reveal that senior executives at National were so concerned by EuroJIT’s success that, with the consent of National’s board of directors, they engaged a security firm set up by ex-SAS soldiers to investigate their rival.

National was convinced that EuroJIT was winning bids ahead of National because it was using information leaked to it by someone inside National. It therefore approached Special Business Services (SBS), a secretive commercial security consultancy. SBS’ initial remit was to investigate National to find the leak. When nothing turned up within National, it was instructed to turn its attention to EuroJIT and try to find out whether it was using secret information to win bids and, if it was, to take steps to stop it from doing so.

It is believed that an SBS operative persuaded a member of EuroJIT’s marketing team to provide SBS with material as to how EuroJIT went about winning bids. The employee secretly copied some important documents relating to forthcoming bids and also downloaded and copied data from EuroJIT’s secure client information database. Copies were passed to SBS

On National’s express instructions, no confidential information was ever passed on to it. However, it is believed that it was aware of the steps taken by SBS and the marketing employee working with it – including the alleged derailing of some bids. The Financial Herald understands that EuroJIT was prevented from completing a bid for a contract with Anglia Motors in 2018 because some key files and a vital piece of equipment went missing at the last minute. The contract was awarded to another (unrelated) company for £2.5m. A source within Anglia said that Anglia was disappointed that EuroJIT did not make a final bid as it would likely have been more competitive on price and it is taking legal advice on any possible claims.

The operation was apparently subsequently brought to a halt, as SBS’s investigation, contrary to its initial suspicions, had still not been able to find any hard evidence that EuroJIT had obtained information from National, even in the Anglia bid – Its successes in the past had been purely a matter of its pricing strategy. EuroJIT remained unaware of the operation until a routine audit of its IT systems brought to light the activities of the employee working with SBS. This triggered a full security review, which revealed the full scale of SBS’s activities. A senior executive in EuroJIT, speaking to the Financial Herald on condition of anonymity, has said that EuroJIT’s management are “livid”, and are actively exploring all legal options against SBS and National and its employee, including involving the police in relation to any offences committed by the employee’s unauthorised access of the database.