Tuesday, November 30News That Matters

The Sheikh, the Businessman and a Hacking Mystery on 3 Continents

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

Mr. Azima, Mr. Massaad, their lawyers and other associates would uncover over 150 phishing emails, sent to them between 2015 and 2017, that bore the fingerprints of BellTroX, court filings state.

Mr. Azima’s lawyers then hired a private investigator. That investigator, Jonas Rey, stated in an affidavit filed in Mr. Azima’s London lawsuit that an unnamed associate in India put him in touch with a computer specialist who used to work at CyberRoot.

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

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

Mr. Del Rosso, who did not respond to emails seeking comment, has rejected the allegation and said in court papers that all 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 hacking.

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