Control risks denies Regan bug

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The Independent Online
Control Risks, the security and surveillance group hired by the Co-op to help fend off the attentions of Andrew Regan, has denied that it bugged telephones in Mr Regan's home or attached monitoring devices to his wife's car, writes Nigel Cope.

"That is not the kind of thing we do," a spokesman said. "We would not undertake surveillance exercises ourselves, we would use some one else. But we did not hire anyone for this purpose either." The company said that if there was a bugging operation, it would like to know who was responsible.

It is already known that the Co-operative Wholesale Society hired Control Risks for week with the arrangement ending last Friday. The work included filming Allan Green, the CWS former controller of retailing, handing documents to Andrew Regan in a Beaconsfield car park.

Founded in 1975 by four former SAS officers, Control Risks is one of the best known organisations in its field. It was originally established to mediate in kidnappings and extortion and it still handles around 30 abduction cases per month. But its work has become more diverse recently and has included handling the security arrangements of the female competitors at the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Another key area of work is assisting companies that are operating or looking to operate in potentially difficult markets such as Russia. Control Risks has said that, during the Cold War, companies used to pull out of Russia if there was a mafia connection. However, some organisations now feel that they cannot function properly without such a connection.

With a staff of 2,000 drawn from military, diplomatic, police and accountancy backgrounds, the Control Risks board has included two former Metropolitan Police Commissioners. It has offices in 10 countries and claims to have worked for more than 3,400 clients in 120 countries.