Those who are in the diamond and gold businesses already know what it is doing business in these areas. For the one who begins in this area things may seem deceivingly simple: just the minimum search effort and you quickly find a diamond and / or gold supplier. It seems too simple: adding someone in a social network with a profile that seems contextually adapted to the reality of the business, ask some photos and in a short time, always with friendly prices, the deal looks promising. Someone looking for supply, someone able to provide, and suddenly without knowing exactly how, we are lucky to be the one who with little effort has found a solution.

In 99% of the situations this is the path of those who start in this business; the alleged owner of the material asks for an advanced payment for whatever reason, or simply asks for your presence. This is where the problems begin: the individual is articulate in his rhetoric and you choose to send some money, or even decide to travel. Then one of two things occur: either you send money to the supplier and find yourself without it and the product, or if you go there, it is likely that you find yourself wrapped in very complicated local schemes that usually end in kidnapping and extortion, in geopolitical very critical countries. The stories are always the same, and those who already know this business also knows this. This happens to beginners but will also happen in one way or another to individuals with average experience in the field. The stories are always the same: on one occasion a number carats or gold kg was negotiated and in the end what was received was beautiful pieces of glass, quartz, topaz, or in the case of gold, just sand. In this area, we all know how it works: the buyer hasn’t still arrived, and the alleged owner of the material is already asking for ‘export taxes’, or simply money for the alleged KPC. In the end and in general, everything turns out to be a fraud. The documents are forged or the product does not match what was contracted either in writing or verbally.

In any of these cases the intelligence service is fundamental; for the buyer, knowing little of the shaky ground of this business venture area, IntellCorp has an advisory service that allows three things of capital importance:

  1. Enables the customer to obtain local, reliable information about the veracity of any contact established or in progress and paves the way for future business;
  2. Identifies to the customer the local and usual procedures for this type of product and the key stakeholders;
  3. Effective local support as for Intelligence, Security and Protection for these international risk operations from their point of sale / purchase and route to the final destination;

A rigorous private intelligence service is essential to prevent fraud, kidnapping and extortion. In IntellCorp we know the terrain like nobody else and we know how to operate in these type of markets; we know how to act in risk situations, and accompany our clients in both the due diligence process on your potential supplier, but we also provide local support so that your business develops with the greatest tranquility.

This is our way of doing security: we act in complex situations, work in critical terrains that are often very fertile in opportunities, but also in dangers.

Anywhere in the world all business stakeholders and particularly in this business area, are often and generally faced with difficulties that without a structured and solid intelligence work very easily degenerate into problems that translate into substantial losses of money, the freedom of the purchaser, and in limit situations may cost him his life.

Do you want to know more about us? Reach us on our website and drop us an email at [email protected] to know what we can do for you; start following us on Linkedin and Facebook.

When we look over the international panorama, we get the false impression that Portugal and the Portuguese people won’t be directly affected by terrorist or criminal organizations’ actions, neither by political, economic and social changes. This impression is far from being accurate, if we just briefly analyse the new circumstances and the characteristics of the most recent terrorist attacks or criminal actions in foreign soil, and its probable developments, and even recent political, economic and social events, in States that appear to be solid and very unlikely to change in the near future.

In this sense, understanding this new reality is now more and more important to companies, to its leaders and the various organizations, with the important help of experienced professionals, who, looking into political, economic and social matters, gather a series of information – collected online and in the field, from connections and sources – which are used as a yardstick, the day they are released, to the most common and instant risks in the territory they focus on.

We will now explain the importance of IntellCorp’s reports to the client, with a few arguments and examples:

  1. Terrorism;
  2. Political issues;
  3. Economic issues;
  4. Social issues.

(1) Terrorism:

If these recent attacks alert us to a kind of violence Europe was not used to, these actions are nothing new to what should be expected for quite a long time, and to what Governments have been trying to anticipate and prevent, unfortunately, unsuccessfully in those communicated cases.  However, many other cases – not announced live but known afterwards, for obvious security measures – have been avoided by Intelligence Services and Security Forces.

The new side of terrorism takes the form of non-traditional or low-intensity war between a large number of States (mostly western) and tribal groups and subgroups, guided by their own interests and with principles that are not very consistent, but they are shared among them, with a flexibility that makes it hard to anticipate their new actions. These groups, which organize and reorganize themselves, expand easily in a “where there’s one member or cell, the group is represented” basis, and, not looking to accomplish their purpose in medium or long terms, they invest in low cost actions, by integrating member in the field or by using members who are apparently integrated, to cause the highest damage, with the lest resources.

If we take a look at the Global Terrorism Index 2015[1], by IEP/START, supported by American Administration and different federal agencies and Intelligence Services, regarding the ranking for the States that were most affected by terrorism and with the highest risk of representing a target for future attacks, we can see that Portugal is positioned in 110th place – Lowest impact of terrorism. This tells us that we don’t have to worry much about terrorism, internally. But only if we don’t go beyond a basic data analysis and interpretation. In fact, we can equally see that Belgium’s positioned in 82th place – Lowest impact of terrorism – which indicates a similar low risk. And, unfortunately, we recently had the opportunity of confirming that this risk was clearly underestimated, with the triple attack to Brussels, which caused 32 deaths and 300 other victims.

At this stage, no growing company, travelling executive or any other kind of organization, in its daily activities, can underestimate this increasing threat, terrorism, and its direct consequences to its operations’ and its employees’ safety and morale.  It is important to note, although, that Portugal recently reinforced its antiterrorism prevention measures and that the existence of a direct terrorism threat to Portugal was recognized by the Portuguese Counterintelligence Services – SIS, Security Intelligence Services.

[2] Political issues:

At this point, a first thing that comes to most people’s minds is a putsch. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, there were nearly 30 putsch attempts (some were successful, other failed), of which Turkey’s was the last one. But there were more than 70 revolution attempts, popular uprisings and organized protest movements against the State (disruptive) and over 40 big general strikes.

If this is not enough to worry any company, let’s consider the fact that the policies and laws are the work of current and past governors and might be changed. There are also privatizations and nationalizations. There are sudden policies changes, for electoral purposes, and changes of government representatives, such as cases of certain ministers’ fails, which lead to his resignation; or the developments of a certain politician’s image, which oblige them to do some renegotiations with syndicates; or the companies’ bounding or sacrifices, in order to achieve a temporary social pacification.  There are sudden political scandals.  There are Government’s external influences.  There is a large number of possibilities to be considered, when you follow a certain geopolitical area that is hardly monitored by public institutions or organisms, or resumed in generic survey or spaced reports, such as the ones provided to companies intending to expand to the outside of their national territory.

In practice, when monitoring a Government’s political level – including the levels of defence and security and their main representatives – searching for their strengths and vulnerabilities is a job that can hardly be done by employees of a non-specialized company or even through the available official literature compilation, which is often created to “disguise” and “attract” the open source news. These are naturally guided by the media’s specific interests, and their target is the widest audience, rather than investigating matters that meet the IntellCorp’s client interests.

[3] Economic issues:

At this point, notwithstanding the fact that the companies are well-informed, they end up ignoring certain signs and not having interesting data, crucial to a good decision making. If this wasn’t true, many of the recent cases involving banking institutions could have had different outcomes, perhaps a happier ending to some of its depositors and to the companies involved.

Whoever works in Intelligence cannot afford to ignore signs that were clearly shown beforehand, that some institutions would be having serious problems, in the near future. There were plenty of speeches by representatives and international sectors, delivering reports or simple statements, allowing a foresight of what was coming.

The Intelligence’s part in this field is to combine a strict, but wide research that allows a permanent supervision and an adequate prevention, allowing companies to avoid being caught unaware. IntellCorp’s part as regards the client, as Intelligence professionals, is to follow the most recent events and circumstances, at all levels and by all means, giving companies’ leaders access to a service that is usually available to Heads of State only.

[4] Social issues:

Social issues are frequently underestimated or overestimated by who’s looking from the outside. This may be caused by believing in the representatives’ lack of organisational or coordination capacity, or by an excessive optimism regarding their real influence in the public opinion, or by wanting many different things to change in the social field, or even by believing in the capacity or the external help that some representatives or movements seem to count on.

By seeing strikes that paralyze a local geographic area, bigger or smaller reactions in its sub-region or region, and the representatives individual part and their actual interests and political agenda, a company seeking to analyse a State in which it intends to invest or strengthen, frequently comes across the same dilemma: do I really know all the related matters?

IntellCorp’s job is precisely to be constantly aware and connected to the field of excellence, which allows us to help the client making informed decisions. Its job is to break alarmism apart, as well as to warn against possible risks. Its experience is essential in this research and analysis, for it is the reflection of a fair, out of the box vision, but also aware of the different standards, in which new events fit.

There are many other examples, regarding the companies’ need to resort to specialized Intelligence and Security services IntellCorp understands that both fields are internally connected and that knowing these and other specific fields, such as diplomatic, defence, corporative and social, as well as transversal matters, benefits the client and makes a difference in its capacitation.

Will Country Risk Report be enough to close the gaps? Certainly it won’t close all gaps, but it will be a good start. We provide developed and extensive services and adapt them to the client’s budget. However, having access to our most basic services and support and being basically well-informed is always better than having to let luck decide for you.

Every time your organization intends to hire someone, there are two ways of doing it: by your own means or by resorting to a Human Resources company. In both cases, checking the applicant’s reputation is fundamental, as well as making sure you can trust them and that they can maintain confidentiality, regarding extremely delicate matters, such as company’s internal issues. Checking the applicant’s background, as well as their statements’ and documents’ accuracy is very important as well.

Unfortunately, the damages caused by employees with personality disorders, to companies and to the world economy, every year, are considerable. Some studies show that, currently, 6% of the world’s population suffers from personality disorders. For instance, in United Kingdom, a King’s Fund’s study showed that the State’s and companies’ expenses related to treating their employees, in 2008, was £704 million. It also showed that their calculated loss, related to these individuals’ loss of productivity, would be around £7,9 Billions.

Corporative psychopaths, mythomaniacs and compulsive liars, histrionics, narcissists, Machiavellians and obsessive-compulsives are only some of the often hidden disorders. Recent studies show that, in large groups with positive samples (tested individuals with confirmed personality disorders), there is a ratio of 3 Type R individuals – resistant to any treatment, for they don’t acknowledge their disorder—to 1 Type S individual – recognizes his disorder and actively seeks treatment. Also, studies from the University of Surrey show that three (3) of the eleven (11) most problematic personality disorders are more common in administration members than in convicted criminals.

They are experts in avoiding tough questions, avoiding issues, justifying their faults and flaws, highlighting their virtues, often masked by modesty combined with an excessive ego, which makes them appear to be the perfect applicant in interviews and, at the same time, attracts the ones they consider useful for their purposes (leadership), and intimidates whoever becomes aware of their real purposes (mostly, their less useful colleagues).

The reasons that keep them going are: the fear of getting caught, and the fear of criticism by their partners, their family, friends and society, among others. They can cause damages to the company’s image in the market, to its clients, commercial partners, operations, as well as to the company’s internal structure and the employees’ morale, and they can actually get to destroy a whole company.

Other common reasons for job applicants to lie and to resort to document falsification are often as simple as despair and insecurity, and the need to guarantee a job and means of subsistence.

Because of the threat these individuals represent to companies and organizations, especially, when dealing with sensitive and classified information, a prior background check becomes crucial, in certain organizations. These organizations are often forced to hiring individuals who go through these vetting processes only.

A background check or research refers to looking into, assembling and verifying different kinds of records: criminal, commercial and financial, related to a job applicant; and also, through every legal means, guaranteeing that, besides their perfect match to the job position, they do not represent any threat to the company or organization.

In IntellCorp, as we are perfectly and deeply aware of the vulnerabilities individuals, companies and organizations may generally be associated with, our job is to guarantee that our research is performed to its fullest extent, over and above any research done by Human Resources companies or by the employers themselves. After all, who’s more qualified than people who dealt with shadows and secrets all their lives? No one more than us, at IntellCorp.