Disputes Series: Article 3
A straightforward dispute between two companies over fulfilling a contract is best left to the lawyers, surely? Not necessarily. When allegations of bribery enter the dispute and really useful information is not written into the contract, specialist techniques, as used by K2 Intelligence in the case below, can be a far more effective way to reach a resolution.
Matteo Bigazzi of K2 Intelligence writes:
Problem: The client was a U.S.-based engineering business that was being sued by a Latin American mining company, its former client. The miner alleged that our client had deliberately taken on a project to help build a mine that it knew it didn’t have the technology to complete successfully, and that in order to win the work, they had bribed a senior employee of the miner.
Solution: A lot of really useful information was sitting in the heads of people who had worked for the company suing our clients and it was not formally written into the contracts. Our work involved interviewing former employees of the miner, other subcontractors on the same project, former owners of the site, government officials, and various other people. We had to establish a detailed chronology of events to demonstrate who knew what precisely when.
We were able to show that a crucial document that set out the difficulties of the project (and that the plaintiff said had been deliberately ignored by our client) had in fact been read and acknowledged during the bid process.
We also carried out an investigation into the bribe allegedly paid by our client. While it is impossible to entirely disprove that a bribe has taken place, it is possible to prove the argument the other side is making is spurious. A lot of that work was to do with the timing of people having access to certain documents.
In a case like this, you could ask why does a company need K2 Intelligence? Wasn’t all the necessary information written down in contracts, and couldn’t the lawyers have sorted it out that way? You could ask the same of any piece of work we get. Ultimately this job is not like being a doctor or a lawyer, in terms of technical qualifications. But we have experience and techniques which mean that we can identify people and question them in the most useful way possible, for example finding former employees and working out where their allegiances lie, getting every last fact out of them, and persuading them to testify. All these things require judgment and experience. So we would say you could do it yourself, but you wouldn’t do it as well.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts about your concerns, please contact us.