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


Although the judge questioned the credibility of this story, his ruling against Mr. Azima should have ended the case. But soon, a Reuters reporter contacted one of his lawyers and said the news agency had records indicating that BellTroX had sent him phishing emails.

Mr. Azima, Mr. Massaad, their lawyers and other associates are said to discover more than 150 phishing emails, sent to them between 2015 and 2017, which bore BellTroX’s fingerprints, according to court records.

Mr. Azima’s lawyers then hired a private investigator. That investigator, Jonas Rey, said in an affidavit filed in Mr Azima’s London trial that an anonymous associate in India put him in touch with a computer scientist who previously worked at CyberRoot.

According to the investigator’s affidavit, this ex-employee, Vikash Kumar Pandey, told him that CyberRoot had used BellTroX’s hacking infrastructure to send phishing emails because it lacked the technical capability to do it. Mr Pandey is also said to have said that Mr Del Rosso, the private investigator, led CyberRoot’s actions.

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

Mr Del Rosso, who did not respond to emails seeking comment, dismissed the allegation and said in court documents 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, denied any role in the hack.

The lawsuit brought by Mr Azima is not expected to go to trial in London until next year, and Mr Pandey, the computer scientist, is not expected to testify.

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