The sheikh, the businessman and a hacking mystery on 3 continents


Although the judge questioned the credibility of this story, his verdict against Mr. Azima should have ended the case. But soon a reporter from Reuters contacted one of his lawyers and said the news organization had a record of BellTroX sending him phishing emails.

Mr. Azima, Mr. Massaad, their lawyers and other employees would uncover over 150 phishing emails sent to them between 2015 and 2017 that contained BellTroX’s fingerprints, according to court files.

Mr. Azima’s lawyers then hired a private investigator. That investigator, Jonas Rey, stated in an affidavit in Mr Azima’s London lawsuit that an unnamed employee in India linked him to a computer specialist who previously worked at CyberRoot.

According to the investigator’s affidavit, this ex-employee, Vikash Kumar Pandey, told him that CyberRoot used BellTroX’s hacking infrastructure to send phishing emails because it lacked the technical skills to do so. Mr Pandey also allegedly said that Mr Del Rosso, the private investigator, directed CyberRoot’s operations.

Records show that Mr. Del Rosso’s company paid CyberRoot over $ 1 million between 2015 and 2017. Last year, Mr. Azima sued Mr. Del Rosso in federal court in North Carolina, accusing him of hacking.

Mr. Del Rosso, who did not respond to emails asking for comment, denied the allegation and said in court records that all of his payments to CyberRoot were for legitimate services. He added that he had never heard of Mr. Pandey. The other investigator, Mr Page, who did not respond to requests for comment, has denied any role in the hacking.

The lawsuit filed by Mr Azima is not expected to be heard in London until next year and Mr Pandey, the computer specialist, is unlikely to testify.

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