We undertake complex investigations and advise clients on risks and opportunities around the world, with a focus on emerging and frontier markets. Acquisitions, joint ventures, new partnerships, and expanding into new markets involves decisions that take into account the ability to balance risk and benefit. Sibylline's Business Intelligence and Investigations team is trained to help our clients navigate risks to their reputation and integrity by carefully assessing business targets, be they individuals, businesses, sectors or countries. Our investigations go beyond and provide context, insight and analysis beyond simple information: we find actionable intelligence so our clients can make informed decisions.
Our research accounts for media bias, misinformation, politically motivated allegations, local industry nuances, and unreliable or incomplete public sources. We engage our networks of in-country sources and subject matter experts to uncover reputational, integrity, operational, regulatory, legal, political or financial concerns, many of which are often not discoverable in automated searches.
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Joint Ventures
- New Partnerships
- Senior Appointments Screening
- Protecting businesses, executives and their families
- Digital Resilience Assessments
- Social Media Risk Assessments
- Continual Threat Monitoring
- Dark Web Vulnerability
- Reputational Risk
- Litigation Support
- Asset Tracing and Recovery
- Impact Assessments
- Tailored ESG training and framework integration
- Supply Chain Due Diligence and Investigations
- Labour Welfare
What we do
Sibylline’s Business Intelligence and Investigations (BI&I) team comprises investigative professionals drawn from careers in diplomacy, government intelligence, academia and international consulting firms. We have over twenty years’ experience helping clients maximise opportunities, mitigate risk and protect reputation. We work with companies, international financial institutions, law firms and NGOs, helping our clients navigate a variety of complex challenges, including integrity due diligence, compliance, regulatory and sanctions risk, reputation resilience, supply chain risk, litigation support and asset tracing and recovery.
Sibylline has also recently introduced an ESG practice, which supports clients not only to conduct impact assessments, but to build comprehensive ESG frameworks to ensure businesses act ethically.
Sibylline doesn’t subscribe to the ‘mystique’ often attributed to the corporate investigations industry. Our approach is simple: find the facts in the most efficient and ethical manner. We recruit our analysts based on key competencies – being at the forefront of open-source research, linguistic capability, international experience and a thirst to uncover difficult-to reach information. Sibylline also maintains a longstanding, global network of human intelligence sources. Clients choose Sibylline because all our assignments are complemented by the in-house Global Insight Team, our political risk experts who are fluent in the relevant languages and deeply knowledgeable about the political, economic and cultural nuances of the market in question. All our reports come with tailored analysis and key recommendations.
Russia and CEE
A multilateral development bank asked us to conduct an integrity investigation into the shareholders of a large privately owned bank in a former Soviet state where most ‘strategic’ entities are state owned.
In addition to assessing the reputation of the shareholders and the potential integrity risk to the client, we identified other assets the shareholders owned, including those held ‘offshore’ and through nominees.
Further, we identified allegations that the shareholder had leveraged close political relationships to improve their prospects in other industries, including tobacco and other FMCG.
The Client also sought to understand the level of political risk for their investment as the jurisdiction in question had recently witnessed an increase in civil unrest followed by swift state retaliation.
Prior to finalizing a loan to a large family-owned conglomerate in Central Asia, an international bank asked Sibylline to assess and investigate the potential reputational risks given that the main shareholder was in the process of running for leader of a political party and had previously unsuccessfully run as a member of the country’s parliament.
During our investigation we uncovered allegations of irregularity surrounding the Party leader elections. In addition, the major shareholder had previously served as an advisor to a former Prime Minister and had been accused of leveraging this relationship for his own commercial benefit. Finally, a shareholder’s son was named in an anti-bribery sting investigation relating to the purchase of protected land.
Despite the apparent risks, we were able to walk the client through mitigating factors, as well as highlight which of the above activities were considered ‘normal’ in the jurisdiction and therefore negligible.
The Client approached Sibylline to conduct a full integrity due diligence into an Agricultural Commodities Trading company operating and headquartered in South East Asia, and with further activities in West Africa. Given that commodities traders operate in industries which are exposed to human rights violations and other ESG risks, the client was particularly concerned to understand their potential exposure should they go ahead with the investment.
Sibylline was able to determine that the Trader in question had never been implicated in any allegations of human rights abuses. However, we noted that there was still a higher than average risk of the company being indirectly exposed to ESG risks through supply chains. An additional concern highlighted by human sources, was that, in general, the Trader did not have a reputation for sourcing the highest quality goods.
A large international investor was concerned about the potential risks to their investment in a Latin American Public-Private Partnership infrastructure project. The client was specifically concerned about the influence of the Chinese state on the project given their large financial and personnel presence. The client was also concerned about the political exposure of the specially created companies to Latin American authorities.
Sibylline identified the Latin American personnel who were particularly politically exposed, both at state and national level, and who had tried to hide previous accusations of corruption and unlawful activity. We were able to satisfy the client that the level of Chinese influence was suitably low. However, during the investigation, several sources told us about concerns regarding the final quality of goods provided by the Chinese companies.
A private equity firm asked Sibylline to conduct an enhanced investigation into the shareholders, corporate structure, and reputation of one of Turkey’s largest and oldest banks. Political developments in Turkey at the time meant our client was increasingly concerned about possible political exposure within the bank’s ownership.
Sibylline noted that, although the bank was partially owned by a (non-governing) political party, they did not influence or interfere with the bank’s activities. However, this left the bank at risk to future government pressure if the ruling party
Further confirming the above risk, there were indications that existing legal proceedings against several current and former senior executives were politically motivated. However, the bank itself was not the main target. Hence, any legal proceeding with the potential to have a negative impact on the bank would be considered collateral damage.
Sibylline was tasked with conducting a Counter Terrorism Financing investigation on a micro lender based in a Fragile and Conflict State. The client’s primary concern was to ensure that there was no means by which the subject could be unwittingly laundering money for the dominant terrorist organisation through making loans; and nor was the decision making process of the micro lender influenced by the terrorist organization.
We were able to satisfy the client, that although the terrorist organisation would have knowledge of the loans being made, the amounts were so small and the repayment terms were so long that that they were not an attractive means by which to launder money or exert influence in the region. Further, the financial backers of the micro-lender and the senior personnel involved had long track records of working successfully in the space.
The client approached us prior to finalising the purchase of a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although on paper the mine appeared to have robust ESG policies and credentials, the client wanted to conduct discreet human source enquiries on the ground within the local community to confirm the veracity of the reported policies and commitments.
Our enquiries revealed that although the mine was making positive steps, there were still a large proportion of child labour on site. Further, there were concerns about site access and the health and safety of nearby artisanal miners.
Sibylline was able to help the client manage their reputation prior to the purchase, and subsequently supported the client with the development, integration and implementation of new ESG policies.