G4S targeted in 'profits hole' hoax


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The Independent Online

The security giant G4S was the target of an elaborate hoax yesterday, as false claims of a £386m hole in its profits and the sacking of the finance director briefly spooked the City.

The emailed message – drafted to resemble a formal stock exchange announcement – said restated accounts following an internal audit meant the company had dived into the red for 2013 and the first half of this year.

It added that Himanshu Raja, the chief financial officer, had been sacked as a result, while group general counsel Soren Lundsberg-Nielsen had resigned. Ashley Almanza, the chief executive, was said to be “shocked by these discoveries”.


The statement briefly caused a flurry of messages on Twitter, although suspicions were quickly aroused by the non-appearance of the statement on the formal stock exchange wire and spelling errors throughout the release. Mr Raja was on a call with analysts at the time.

An anonymous group of apparent activists, calling for “No nation, no border, fight law and order”, issued as second message from the same faked address claiming to have “induced G4S’ shares to temporary fall down”.

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Shares in the company, which traded in positive territory all day, ended up 2 per cent at 270p.