Friday 17 November 2017

Fitzgerald 'spy firm' linked to English businessman murdered in China

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Hakluyt, the low-profile corporate intelligence firm chaired by Irish boardroom giant Niall Fitzgerald, has been thrust into the spotlight by revelations that it had in the past hired murdered British businessman Neil Heywood as a consultant in China.

The mysterious death of Heywood has led to political upheaval in China, with authorities investigating the wife of the rising Communist party chief Bo Xilai, who was suspended from the ruling clique in April. Heywood reportedly had a business dispute with Bo's wife, when he demanded a higher commission for his services.

Hakluyt, a British headquartered firm, was set up by former members of MI6 -- British secret service.

When contacted by Bloomberg, Hakluyt declined to comment on Heywood's role in China or the firm's business there other than to note that it is a "strategic information consultancy" with company clients.

Sligo-born Fitzgerald has held some of the top boardroom jobs in the UK, having led Unilever for the best part of a decade. He later became chairman of Reuters and was once a board member of Bank of Ireland.

Another Irishman on the board of Hakluyt is Neville Isdell, the Downpatrick-born former boss of Coca Cola.

Sunday Indo Business

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