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Covert cameras and alleged hacking: how bust payments company Wirecard ‘hired spies and lawyers to silence critics’

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T he story Matthew Earl tells is of a black Mercedes-Benz, which parked outside his home and started following him. He claims it was intended to send a deliberate message: that he and his family – including two young children – were under surveillance.

After a couple of days, he says, two men emerged from the car to deliver a legal letter from their client, the German payments company Wirecard.

The men, from the private investigations company Kroll, allegedly used a “pointed and intimidating” tone.While the manner of the letter’s delivery may be disputed, it kicked off years of threats of legal action and accusations of wrongdoing against Earl.

But, according to a legal claim brought by Earl, it also marked a new chapter in a “campaign of unlawful harassment” carried out by Wirecard’s law firm, Jones Day, Kroll, and other firms.The claim, which has just been lodged in London’s high court, details allegations of covert surveillance by Kroll, and hacked communications and proposals for hi-tech attacks to intercept mobile phone data by other unknown operators.Through its lawyers Kroll said that it had “acted entirely in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations”, that Earl’s claim was “misconceived” and that the company denied the claim in full.

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