Summary of Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy

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Your competitors might be rummaging through your trash, eavesdropping on your conversations or studying satellite images of your properties. Corporate espionage is more common than you might imagine, writes journalist Eamon Javers in this intriguing study of commercial spying. He offers an impressively thorough study of its past and present, and he doesn’t shy away from the thorny issues this sort of activity raises. Javers’ use of court documents and his interviews with industry players create a well-rounded look at this little-noticed corner of capitalism. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone who enjoys a good spy story as well as to users and targets of corporate espionage. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

About the Author

Eamon Javers covers the White House and the economy for Politico. He was Washington correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine and frequently appears on network television.



Spooks for Hire

When billions are at stake, corporate spies are sure to follow. In recent years, a cottage industry of intelligence gatherers has emerged. Companies hire these spies to collect information about their competitors, or to vet high-level hires. Many private agents received their training in the military or in the U.S. and British intelligence services. Their tactics run from simple “dumpster diving” to satellite monitoring. Sometimes, spies pose as executive recruiters or documentary filmmakers. In rare cases, they orchestrate elaborate stings.

In one such example, Mikhail Fridman, a Russian oligarch who owned the financial consortium Alfa Group, wanted possibly incriminating information on his rival, Leonid Reiman, and his conglomerate, IPOC. To get the data, Fridman’s Washington lobbyists hired Diligence, an intelligence firm, to investigate Reiman. The dispute traveled to Bermuda, where the government had hired the local office of the KPMG accounting firm to investigate IPOC’s ownership and infrastructure. Diligence agents sought KPMG staffers who would leak information. They targeted a couple of personality profiles: a partying, young male or an insecure...

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