A few days ago, the so-called investigative journalist Grigor Lilov made public a so-called investigation, alleging that the company AlixPartners Services, which was contracted for the report on the failed Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB), was not the real AlixPartners. A couple of days later, the so-called investigation was published without any scrutiny as a “super scandal” by several sites, including Frognews, Factor and Glassove (Voices).
Lilov grounds his claims on the British commercial register, the company letterhead with the address for correspondence and the fact that one of the directors of the company had left it to stage a real conspiracy.
Fortunately, the use of the British commercial register (Companies House) is very easy and since recently – free of charge. So anyone can establish the following facts:
- All companies with AlixPartners in their name are registered at the same address, including AlixPartners Services UK LLP, which Lilov declared fake.
- All partners in AlixPartners Services UK LLP are listed as such on the official website of the parent company.
We do not want to publish unfounded claims, thus here is the last available list of existing partners in AlixPartners Services UK LLP. They are 23 individuals. One can select any surname, look it up on the site alixpartners.com and make sure that they are all official partners in the original AlixPartners.
“This story (which circulates in the Bulgarian media – editor’s note) is an absolute joke. It is a perfectly normal practice of AlixPartners to create subsidiaries for certain operations. ”
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This is what Ryan Grant, Managing Director of the office of AlixParners in Birmingham, one of the partners in AlixPartners Services UK LLP, told Bivol by phone. He also said that the company is preparing an official statement, which was published shortly afterward on the website of the Bulgarian Deposit Insurance Fund:
“In common with many of the world’s international businesses, AlixPartners is comprised of a number of individual entities appropriate to the jurisdictions in which it operates. AlixPartners Services UK LLP is one of those subsidiaries and is wholly owned by AlixPartners; a leading global business advisory firm. Speculation to the contrary is both unfounded and unhelpful”.
AlixPartners UK refers to AlixPartners Services UK LLP and AlixPartners Corporate Finance Limited which are limited liability entities registered in England with registered numbers OC397453 and 3670814 respectively, with their registered offices at 20 North Audley Street, London, W1K 6WE. Our billing office address is 10 Fleet Place, London EC4M 7RB.
This is not Grigor Lilov’s first “hit” in the field of investigative journalism. Some time ago, he broke the news that the American university diploma of then-Bulgarian Minister Delyan Dobrev was fake because Dobrev had written in his CV that he had been a member of the football team of the US University. Lilov did not find his name in the list of members of the team and on this ground purported the thesis that the diploma was fake. The mistake was “lost in translation”. Lilov had checked the list of the football team, which in the United States is a different sport – Dobrev had played soccer and was on the list of the soccer team.
How to investigate British companies
The author of the so-called investigation, Grigor Lilov posted on his Facebook page a new load of absurdities, offensive for our site and our work. Therefore, we decided to publish the methodology of our investigation, the correspondence with AlixPartners and documents that confirm the complete lack of any grounds for the thesis that AlixPartners Services UK LLP is not a legitimate subsidiary of AlixPartners.
First, we clearly indicate the source of the documents to which we refer. This is the official British commercial register at https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company. As evident from the homepage, one can use the free new (beta) version through green button Search Now, or the paid version WebCheck, charging one pound for each document. Both versions provide absolutely identical documents, so it does not make sense to pay, but in order to have rock-solid evidence for this publication we are using the paid version, and publishing the receipt for the one pound we spent.
We start with a search for AlixPartners Services or by the number of the company OC397453. A list of available documents that can be requested appears. We order the most recent one, entitled ANNUAL RETURN MADE UP TO 12/01/16. We register, pay with PayPal and receive a unique number for the order, confirmed by email. The mail also serves as a receipt that is recognized by the British tax officials as official proof of purchase. A few minutes later, we refresh the site and download the PDF file. It can be downloaded here blREX+0L0068-352403_6-13313975 and then opened. All these stages are displayed in the gallery. Click on the image to enlarge it.
The ordered and downloaded file contains 25 pages with the names of the current partners in the company, which is of the type LLP or Limited Liability Partnership. Partners may be individuals or legal entities. The document lists 21 individuals – partners, and the partner under number 22 and 23 is AlixPartners Ltd.
The document which certifies the actual name of the company AlixPartners Services UK LLP is also signed on behalf of Alixpartners Ltd.. Likewise, it can be obtained through the above described procedure against one pound or for free from the beta version of the register.
The inquiry whether current partners are formally linked to the parent company AlixPartners Ltd can be done through the website Alixpartners.com, which has a search form. These are the results:
Simon Jonathan Appell 2. Alistair Paul Beveridge 3. Coates, Kevin J. 4. Mark Nicholas Cropper (Zebra Realisation) 5. Simon Vincent Freakley 6. Ryan Kevin Grant 7. Fraser James Gray 8. Paul Gerard Edmund Hemming 9. Charles Peter Holder (Zebra Realisations) 10. Diane Frances Hughes 11. Daniel Christopher Imison 12. Robin Stuart Knight (Zebra Realisations) 13. Simon John Longfield 14. Elizabeth Galbraith Mackay 15. Scott Hayes Millar 16. Anne Clare O’Keefe 17. Peter Mark Saville 18. Anne-Marie Smith (no such partner) 19. Graeme Jonathan Smith 20. Gary Peter Squires 21. Paul Matthew Thompson (Zebra Realisations)
The results show that 16 of the 21 are directors in AlixPartners, four people have worked with the other directors in Zebra Realisations and one person – Anne-Marie Smith – cannot be found. Surely, they are not impostors, but people with a solid professional background.
We randomly selected the e-mail address of one of the directors, in this case Ryan Kevin Grant and asked him whether AlixPartners Services UK LLP is a legitimate subsidiary of AlixPartners.
A little later we received a call * during which he confirmed that AlixPartners Services UK LLP is quite legitimate.
As we also requested a written statement, we received from Mr. Robin Stuart Knight an e-mail with the official position of AlixPartners, which has also been sent to the Deposit Insurance Fund and published by it.
For the biggest conspiracy lovers, we publish the message that came from the domain alixpartners.com and is not raising any suspicion of forgery. We publish it with the headers that carry the digital footprint and show the unique number of the message.
As the person Robin Knight cannot be found in the directory of the site Alixpartners.com, we checked again by phone whether Robin Stuart Knight works for AlixPartners. The press office confirmed that he has worked for the company as managing director for several months. Moreover, they assured us that he was the person who deals with the infamous report.
We talked with Mr. Knight, who expressed bewilderment over the media speculations about the legitimacy of his company, despite the fact that he communicates on a daily basis with the Ministry of Finance and the Deposit Insurance Fund. We had to explain to him that these institutions are not perceived as reliable sources by Bulgarian citizens because of the numerous blunders and lies that they have produced in the past. However, this is not irrelevant to the question whether AlixPartners Services UK LLP is a legitimate subsidiary of AlixPartners – an issue that we already consider closed.
Grigor Lilov’s defamatory statements about Bivol are warmed-over “dirty” publications in “media” controlled by the scandalous lawmaker Delyan Peevski. It is not difficult to guess the goal of Grigor Lilov’s ridiculous attempts to discredit Bivol – they show a connection between Lilov and the other media attacks on us, because of our consistent and uncompromising professional work. The fictional “scandal” with the legitimacy of AlixPartners Services UK LLP achieved only one result – diverting public attention from the Request for Proposal of the Bulgarian Deposit Insurance Fund to the audit company to investigate the drain of CCB. This very important document was published first by Bivol and reveals possible prior hindering of the full and thorough investigation into #Who stole the money and the assets of the bank. The true content of the concluded under this Request for Proposal contract with AlixPartners should be required and analyzed to find out what the actual causes are and the protagonists in the “bank robbery of the century”. Instead of spitting on Bivol and even admitting that he made a mistake, Lilov ought to focus his efforts on finding the culprits and holding them responsible. Creating confusion with fake “revelations” does not help breaking the vicious oligarchic-mafia model of ruling the country and stopping the plundering of the State and society; it does exactly the opposite – gives good reasons to the “backstage” group to fight tooth and nail to prove to the frustrated public its “rightness”. Bivol, however, is obliged to disclose the truth as it is, not its distorted face used for propaganda purposes, serving one’s interests.
We are also wrapping up the free course in working with public records and companies and officially seeking and receiving credible and irrefutable information. Our experience may be useful to beginners in the field of investigative journalism.
*All recordings of conversations with AlixPartners are kept in the editorial office and can be submitted as evidence if we decide that Lilov’s slander is worth the trouble to slap him with a lawsuit.
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