LETHAL LIES: How A Corporate Spy For A Kazakhstan Company Infiltrated The Global Anti-Asbestos Network

In Australia, work­ers who mined and processed asbestos were called “Snowmen” because they’d emerge at the end of every shift cov­ered in the white fibres. The com­pa­nies who employed those men – firms like James Hardie and CSR – knew that their prod­uct was dead­ly and caused can­cer. They mined it, processed it and sold it any­way, until the Australian gov­ern­ment, under pres­sure from the anti-asbestos move­ment of activists, union­ists and lawyers, act­ed to pro­tect pub­lic health. While asbestos is now banned in Australia, the indus­try still thrives over­seas. In par­tic­u­lar, growth is strong in our back­yard of Asia, where poor nations are tar­get­ed by the new asbestos lob­by of pro­duc­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and their lawyers, some of whom are pre­pared to go to almost any lengths to pro­tect their prof­its and ped­dle their poi­son. In this spe­cial New Matilda inves­ti­ga­tion, British jour­nal­ist Michael Gillard and New Matilda edi­tor Chris Graham reveal as yet unpub­lished details of a glob­al spy­ing oper­a­tion on Australian and oth­er inter­na­tion­al activists and offi­cials, who remain locked in a bat­tle to stop the trail of death and mis­in­for­ma­tion in poor­ly reg­u­lat­ed Asian economies.

A SHADOWY pri­vate detec­tive agency hired by a Kazakhstan multi­na­tion­al com­pa­ny linked to the asbestos indus­try has been spy­ing on a United Nations health agency and the inter­na­tion­al anti-asbestos move­ment for the last four years, a New Matilda inves­ti­ga­tion can reveal.

Parliamentarians, pub­lic health offi­cials, activists, aca­d­e­mics, union­ists, sci­en­tists and human rights lawyers from the UK to Australia were tar­get­ed between 2012 and 2016.

The glob­al spy­ing oper­a­tion, code­named Project Spring, was the brain­child of K2 Intelligence and run from its London office. It involved plac­ing a cor­po­rate spy at the heart of the anti-asbestos move­ment, which for more than a decade has been build­ing grad­ual momen­tum for a world-wide ban on the dead­ly mineral.

Robert Moore, the spy, posed as a jour­nal­ist want­i­ng to make a cam­paign­ing doc­u­men­tary about the nefar­i­ous activ­i­ties of the asbestos indus­try in Asia, a growth mar­ket where the mate­r­i­al is not banned.

Corporate spy Robert Moore, who for four years posed as a jour­nal­ist to infil­trate the glob­al anti-asbestos move­ment. He’s pic­tured at an anti-asbestos con­fer­ence run by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation, head­ed by Linda Reinstein. (IMAGE: T. Rich)

However, inter­nal doc­u­ments reveal that Moore’s real mis­sion was to col­lect intel­li­gence, which K2 then passed to its pub­lic­i­ty shy client.

The UK courts have grant­ed that client an injunc­tion pre­vent­ing them from being named and shamed, because of the rep­u­ta­tion­al dam­age. However, that sup­pres­sion order does not apply to pub­li­ca­tions out­side the UK.

New Matilda has seen court doc­u­ments, includ­ing a wit­ness state­ment by Moore in which he iden­ti­fies the client as the Kusto Group, a con­struc­tion, oil and gas con­glom­er­ate owned by oli­garchs from Kazakhstan.

Moore, 50, who was paid almost £500,000 in wages and expens­es for his treach­ery, hand­ed over sen­si­tive doc­u­ments and filed secret intel­li­gence reports which helped under­mine pub­lic health efforts by the UN’s World Health Organisation in Asia, where the Kusto Group operates.

The espi­onage scan­dal has rocked the glob­al anti-asbestos move­ment who open­ly cam­paign against a bel­li­cose indus­try, which for decades down­played the health risks of expo­sure to the can­cer-caus­ing fibre and then fought com­pen­sa­tion claims brought by affect­ed work­ers and communities.

The targets

MOORE tar­get­ed Laurie Kazan-Allen, the renowned founder of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS). He saw her as his way into the wider inter­na­tion­al network.

Moore was giv­en a pass­port result­ing from his accep­tance by me,” the 69-year-old American who lives in London said in a wit­ness state­ment. “He has mis­led us and com­pro­mised our life’s work… I am grave­ly con­cerned that through my actions I may have, unwit­ting­ly, com­pro­mised the effec­tive­ness and even lives of key Ban Asbestos activists.”

Moore claimed he was “well-con­nect­ed” and could get fund­ing for his doc­u­men­tary from promi­nent come­di­an friends and a hedge fund, Kazan-Allen recalled.

An inde­pen­dent oper­a­tor mak­ing doc­u­men­taries in sup­port of our move­ment seemed a god­send – too good to be true, we might think now. Another tool in his arse­nal of per­sua­sion was the rev­e­la­tion that his sis­ter Charlotte Moore was high­ly placed in the BBC – in fact made Controller of BBC1 in 2013,” she added.

Kazan-Allen and a high-pro­file human rights lawyer even donat­ed almost £10,000 to a char­i­ty, Stop Asbestos, which Moore set up as a “cov­er” to infil­trate anti-asbestos groups in Australia and Asia. The idea was secret­ly financed by K2 Intelligence.

In an ini­tial brief­ing doc­u­ment on Project Spring pre­pared for K2 by Moore, he also lists indi­vid­u­als and organ­i­sa­tions around the world who he believes may be use­ful to infil­trate the anti-asbestos movement.

New Matilda has con­firmed at least three Australians – all of them union offi­cials active in sup­port­ing the push for a world-wide ban on asbestos – were approached by Moore.

They are Barry Robson, a for­mer senior offi­cial with the Maritime Union of Australia and the cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia; Andrew Ramsay, a senior Queensland offi­cial with the CFMEU; and Andrew Dettmer, nation­al pres­i­dent of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

All three met Moore at an inter­na­tion­al anti-asbestos con­fer­ence in Geneva in May 2015. Robson says Moore infil­trat­ed a cir­cle of Australian, British, French and Indian offi­cials, who would meet after each day’s ses­sions for a beer.

It’s so bloody expen­sive, Geneva. Everyone is on the black American express cards there. We’re just Trade Union offi­cials, so we were all stay­ing in the same hotel… and we couldn’t afford to go any­where else, so we would meet in the car park of the Holiday Inn every night. This bloke and his part­ner would come in in a car­a­van sell­ing fish and chips, but also Heineken and Guinness and red and white wine. That’s where would Rob would do his work.”

Robson says Moore would shout drinks, but be care­ful not to have too many him­self. “He’d sit down, ‘Can I buy you a Guinness, blah, blah, blah. I want to talk about what you’re doing back there in Australia. He’d have a beer – just the one – and he’d sit on it.

What was strange nev­er saw him with a notepad. You can see in the pho­to the way he worked.”

Robson had already met Moore at a con­fer­ence in Washington a month ear­li­er in April 2015 and was warned by the orga­niz­er to be wary of the jour­nal­ist, whose pres­ence had already raised sus­pi­cions. Moore had sat in on a series of filmed inter­views with con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants Robson recalled.

Corporate spy Rob Moore (third from left), pic­tured at Geneva in 2015. From left to right is Sue Murray (Unite The Union, Britain); Dave Trigg (Unite); Rob Moore; Andrew Ramsay (CFEMU Qld); Kevin Williamson (Unite); an unnamed Indian work­er injured by asbestos; and Andrew Dettmer (National President of the AMWU).

Andrew Dettmer – who was part of the group in Geneva – saw Moore again at anoth­er anti-asbestos con­fer­ence six months lat­er in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Court doc­u­ments reveal Moore report­ed back to K2 from all three con­fer­ences, although none of the Australian offi­cials he met are named in the Project Spring brief­ing document.

Two oth­er Australians, how­ev­er, are named in Moore’s orig­i­nal tar­get list pro­vid­ed to K2 Intelligence – John Sutton, the for­mer head of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), and Robert Vojakovic, pres­i­dent of the Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia based in Perth. Neither could recall ever hav­ing any con­tact with him.

The spy company that ‘does no harm’

JULES Kroll and his son, Jeremy, found­ed K2 in New York in 2009. They claim clients are attract­ed by the cor­po­rate intel­li­gence agency’s “eth­i­cal con­duct”, “integri­ty” and an ethos of “do no harm”.

The agency employs retired law enforce­ment and intel­li­gence offi­cers and free­lance jour­nal­ists to con­duct covert oper­a­tions for blue chip com­pa­nies at arm’s length.

The gold­en rules are don’t get caught and pro­tect the client.

However, mat­ters unrav­eled last September when Leigh Day, a London law firm work­ing for asbestos claimants, was tipped off about Moore’s under­cov­er activities.

Moore is cur­rent­ly being hauled through the UK courts to return all the con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion he illic­it­ly obtained from the law firm and IBAS.

The legal action pan­icked K2, which suc­cess­ful­ly obtained an injunc­tion to pre­vent the iden­ti­ty of their client, the Kusto Group, from being revealed.

In a wit­ness state­ment, K2 would only describe the client as a man “with inter­ests in the chrysotile (white asbestos) indus­try”. It said he had a “legit­i­mate” rea­son to inves­ti­gate a sus­pect­ed “cor­rupt asso­ci­a­tion” between law firms act­ing for claimants suf­fer­ing from asbestos-relat­ed dis­eases, sub­sti­tute man­u­fac­tur­ers and activists plot­ting to “destroy” the chrysotile indus­try in India and Asia.

K2’s lawyers also told the court that if iden­ti­fied their client feared “aggres­sive” retal­i­a­tion from the anti-asbestos move­ment and irrepara­ble rep­u­ta­tion­al dam­age to oth­er busi­ness interests.

Although the UK judge said the client must have been involved with K2 in “wrong­do­ing”, an anonymi­ty order was grant­ed and report­ing restric­tions imposed on the UK media only.

The Kazakhstan connection

YERKIN Tatishev, a 40-year-old Kazak entre­pre­neur, runs the Kusto Group. He made his name res­cu­ing the Kostanai and Orenburg chrysotile mines in Kazakhstan and Russia respectively.

Kusto is head­quar­tered in Singapore and claims a US$1.2 bil­lion turnover. It has key build­ing mate­r­i­al and con­struc­tion oper­a­tions in Vietnam, where cam­paign­ers want to ban asbestos, and where Moore was active. It also owns a major paint sup­pli­er in Israel.

Yerkin Tatishev, the Chairman of the Kusto Group, which Moore named in wit­ness state­ments as the com­pa­ny which hired K2 Intelligence to spy on the glob­al anti-asbestos network.

Tatishev him­self has close links to Kazahk oli­garch Mukhtar Ablyazov, a for­mer politi­cian and banker who stands accused of the largest fraud in glob­al his­to­ry. Ablyazov was found by the British High Court to have stolen at least £2.6 bil­lion from Bank TuranAlem (BTA), Kazakhstan’s largest bank, of which Ablyazov was once Chairman and a major share­hold­er. At least anoth­er £3 bil­lion remains unac­count­ed for.

Tatishev served on the board of BTA with Ablyazov, replac­ing his old­er broth­er, Yerhan Tatishev, who died in mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances dur­ing a hunt­ing trip in 2004. US diplo­mat­ic cables at the time, pub­lished by Wikileaks, spec­u­late that the old­er Tatishev had helped Ablyazov liq­ui­date his assets and move his mon­ey off­shore in the ear­ly 2000s, before Ablyazov fled Kazakhstan claim­ing polit­i­cal persecution.

Ablyazov – a key polit­i­cal oppo­nent to auto­crat­ic Kazakhstan pres­i­dent Nursultan Nazarbayev – was sen­tenced to 22 months jail in the United Kingdom in 2012 for per­jury, after he was sued by BTA over the miss­ing bil­lions. He fled England before he could be jailed, and was even­tu­al­ly arrest­ed in France in 2013, but released in December last year after final­ly defeat­ing an extra­di­tion order to Russia.

In 2014, a spokesper­son for Yerkin Tatishev pub­licly denied any wrong­do­ing in rela­tion to BTA. Kusto group media con­sul­tant Tal Rabina told Globes mag­a­zine in 2014, “Mukhtar Ablyazov was a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors on a bank in Kazakhstan that was nation­al­ized, togeth­er with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Tatishev fam­i­ly. At the same time, note that in con­trast with the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion against Ablyazov report­ed in sev­er­al media, the entire inves­ti­ga­tion against oth­er direc­tors in that bank, includ­ing Mr. Tatishev, end­ed in less than 24 hours, with the legal author­i­ties there mak­ing it clear to those under inves­ti­ga­tion that they had found noth­ing wrong with their activ­i­ty, and the issu­ing of a writ­ten char­ac­ter ref­er­ence. In order to remove all doubt, in con­trast to Ablyazov, the Tatishev fam­i­ly mem­bers and the Kusto group are to this day accept­ed as respectable busi­ness­men in Kazakhstan.”

According to press reports, in 2014 the Kusto Group was also inves­ti­gat­ed on sus­pi­cion of mon­ey laun­der­ing in Israel after pur­chas­ing a paint com­pa­ny at an appar­ent­ly inflat­ed price – 500 mil­lion sheck­els, 200 mil­lion more than an offer from pre­vi­ous talks with a pri­vate equi­ty firm – with­out alleged­ly hav­ing con­duct­ed any due dili­gence on the deal. There is no record of any pros­e­cu­tion of the com­pa­ny or indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with it, and the Kusto Group has pre­vi­ous­ly denied wrong­do­ing.

Tal Rabina told Globe mag­a­zine: “Both the Azrieli group and the var­i­ous banks in Israel exam­ined the Kusto group care­ful­ly both before and after com­plet­ing the deal for the acqui­si­tion of Tambour. Following the clear find­ings of these inquiries, which found that all the sources of the group’s mon­ey were known and respectable, not only did they approve the deal, but they even pro­posed to finance it, even though the Kusto group intend­ed from the start to finance the acqui­si­tion from its own resources.

Incidentally, any state author­i­ty, such as the Money Laundering Authority, is obvi­ous­ly oblig­at­ed to care­ful­ly check any infor­ma­tion it obtains. As we have seen in recent affairs, how­ev­er, the very trans­fer­ring of any kind of infor­ma­tion to the Authority, and even an exam­i­na­tion of that infor­ma­tion, if any was per­formed, does not indi­cate that this ‘infor­ma­tion’ has any real reli­a­bil­i­ty what­so­ev­er. The group has received no offi­cial query in this mat­ter what­so­ev­er, but if one is received, we will be glad to coop­er­ate with any autho­rised party.”

Multiple attempts by New Matilda to seek com­ment from the The Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority were unsuccessful.

Daniel Kunin, Managing Director of The Kusto Group and con­tact point for K2 Intelligence, accord­ing to Moore’s wit­ness statement.

Daniel Kunin – K2’s point of con­tact with the Kusto Group – was Kusto’s pub­lic spokesper­son for the Israeli pur­chase. Robert Moore names Kunin as K2’s client in his wit­ness state­ment. “Two years ago, I found out that… Daniel Kunin was K2’s client. It took me anoth­er six months and a sec­ond trip to Thailand to real­ize he worked for Yerkin Tatishev, the own­er of the biggest mines in Russia and Kazakhstan,” he said.

Moore also claimed in the wit­ness state­ment that Kunin, Kusto’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, first approached K2 in May 2012.

Matteo Bigazzi, an exec­u­tive man­ag­ing direc­tor in the K2 London office, then con­tract­ed Moore to infil­trate the anti-asbestos move­ment. It was his sec­ond assign­ment for K2, but the jour­nal­ist was already in the betray­al business.

One of the family

MOORE, a Buddhist, claims he first became a cor­po­rate spy for hire in 2007 after an unre­mark­able tele­vi­sion career pro­duc­ing com­e­dy programmes.

He rein­vent­ed him­self as a free­lance inves­tiga­tive doc­u­men­tary mak­er. But this was real­ly a cov­er to sup­ple­ment his income by infil­trat­ing activists and lawyers on behalf of a range of cor­po­rate intel­li­gence agen­cies he has yet to name.

Moore received his secret orders for Project Spring from Bigazzi in per­son or through a Gmail account. Both men had the pass­word to the account and Moore dropped doc­u­ments and his reports in the draft fold­er, to ensure noth­ing was ever sent over the Internet.

In one of his first reports, Moore dis­cussed with his K2 con­troller how to win over Kazan-Allen. “I am con­fi­dent,” he told Bigazzi, “I can enter this world rel­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly and with a high lev­el of legit­i­ma­cy and cred­i­bil­i­ty… If I am allowed to gen­uine­ly pur­sue a sto­ry and endeav­our to get it com­mis­sioned it would add to my cred­i­bil­i­ty with Kazan-Allen and, more impor­tant­ly, the verac­i­ty of my cover.”

He con­tin­ued: “The stand out sto­ry is the growth of the asbestos indus­try through­out Asia… how devel­oped coun­tries are push­ing dan­ger­ous mate­ri­als (that we banned) onto poor­ly edu­cat­ed peo­ple in poor­ly reg­u­lat­ed devel­op­ing coun­tries. There is lots for a lib­er­al mind­ed TV pro­duc­er to get angry about here.”

Kazan-Allen said she soon came to see Moore as “one of the fam­i­ly”. Before long, the vet­er­an cam­paign­er was intro­duc­ing the spy at con­fer­ences in Brussels and Thailand. Moore lat­er trav­elled to the US, Canada, India and Vietnam.

Robert Moore, pic­tured at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Foundation con­fer­ence in Washington in 2015.

Unknown to Kazan-Allen, his real mis­sion was to find out about poten­tial legal threats from American and British class actions lawyers, includ­ing her broth­er, who rep­re­sents US asbestos victims.

Targeting the UN

ANOTHER area of inter­est was gath­er­ing intel­li­gence to neu­tralise the push by cam­paign­ers to add white asbestos to the UN’s list of mate­ri­als harm­ful to human health, there­by requir­ing pro­duc­ers to obtain pri­or informed con­sent before they can export.

Moore specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed the World Health Organisation (WHO), a UN agency, and the International Labour Organisation to see if they were fund­ing law firms con­nect­ed to IBAN.

In his wit­ness state­ment, he said K2 instruct­ed him in 2013 to find out what action WHO was plan­ning to take on white asbestos in the Philippines and Thailand.

The spy gained the trust of lead­ing health offi­cials who, con­vinced of his integri­ty, lat­er part-fund­ed him to make two short asbestos films, which helped enhance his cov­er and access.

Feedback from the client is very pos­i­tive and they would like to con­tin­ue to mine the WHO vein,” Bigazzi wrote in an email dat­ed 19 July 2013.

Confidential access

ROBERT Moore wormed his way to the cen­tre of the anti-asbestos move­ment and by the start of 2015 he was attend­ing key pol­i­cy and strate­gic legal meetings.

K2 had pro­posed a £185,000 bud­get to the client for the year. £105,000 alone was ear­marked for Moore’s “month­ly retainer”.

In the end, Bigazzi informed his spy that the client was only “pre­pared to go to the board and ask for a max­i­mum of £160,000”. In return, they want­ed Moore to focus on WHO, Vietnam, Thailand and oth­er “pan-Asian intel”.

K2 Intelligence founder and Chairman, Jules Kroll, who says he’s proud­est of his com­pa­ny because it ‘does no harm’.

The spy agreed but was keen that K2 did not dis­close his iden­ti­ty to the client in case they inad­ver­tent­ly blew his cov­er when using the sen­si­tive intel­li­gence he was pro­vid­ing. “We are now being giv­en access to the most con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion that is shared by an extreme­ly (his ital­ics) small cir­cle. If any of this gets out we will be exposed,” he wrote in February 2015.

We are now being giv­en access to the most con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion that is shared by an extreme­ly (his ital­ics) small cir­cle. If any of this gets out we will be exposed.” – Robert Moore, February 2015

By July, Moore appeared par­tic­u­lar­ly jumpy. He reit­er­at­ed to K2 the risk of dis­cov­ery. “I think the ram­i­fi­ca­tions would be par­tic­u­lar­ly seri­ous for us because of the approach­es we are deploy­ing to get inside infor­ma­tion from one of the United Nation’s most impor­tant agen­cies,” he explained in a cov­er­ing email attached to his lat­est report on WHO.

To fur­ther his “cov­er”, in late 2015 Moore set up the Stop Asbestos char­i­ty in the UK. He per­suad­ed well-known cam­paign­ers and lawyers from Leigh Day and Doughty Street cham­bers to become trustees.

They believed Moore when he said the char­i­ty could raise funds for his research in Asia. However, in an email to his K2 con­troller, he wrote: “I believe we now have a cov­er that could take us through to the end of 2016 and vis­it all the desired des­ti­na­tions… I have now been invit­ed to meet key par­ties in Australia.”

Renowned asbestos vic­tims cam­paign­er Dr Barry Castleman (hold­ing flag), at a sur­prise 69th birth­day par­ty organ­ised by cor­po­rate spy Rob Moore in Hanoi. Moore is pic­tured stand­ing in the background.

Dr Barry Castleman, an American expert on asbestos, met Moore at a con­fer­ence in Vietnam. The vet­er­an expert wit­ness trav­els the world appear­ing for claimants. He has giv­en evi­dence for vic­tims of CSR, the own­ers of a blue asbestos mine in Wittenoom, Western Australia once owned by min­ing mag­nate Lang Hancock.

In Vietnam, the doc­tor warmed to Moore after the Brit arranged a sur­prise 69th birth­day party.

Dr Castleman read­i­ly agreed to be a trustee of the charity.

Stephen Hughes, a British Socialist Member of the European Parliament, was also invit­ed to become a trustee. The now retired par­lia­men­tar­i­an was unaware that Moore had been report­ing back to K2 on his anti-asbestos advo­ca­cy in the Brussels parliament.

Moore exposed

AS well as spy­ing on asbestos activists, in late 2015 Moore took on a new paid assign­ment for K2: to infil­trate Global Witness, a human rights NGO, and Nigerian anti-cor­rup­tion campaigners.

K2’s client was con­cerned about a bribery inves­ti­ga­tion involv­ing a Nigerian Delta oil licence award­ed to Shell and ENI, the Italian ener­gy firm.

However, after pass­ing sev­er­al intel­li­gence reports to K2, in June 2016 Moore sud­den­ly revealed that he was a spy. During a meet­ing with Simon Taylor, the head of Global Witness, Moore admit­ted his cor­po­rate espi­onage for K2. He said he want­ed to expose the asbestos indus­try and offered to work for the NGO as a dou­ble agent on the Nigerian case.

The offer was refused as Taylor felt Moore could be a triple agent and couldn’t be trust­ed. Global Witness instead urged him to “come clean” to all those he was betraying.

Meanwhile, Leigh Day was tipped off because of the risk to the anti-asbestos move­ment. In October, the law firm ignored Moore’s pleas not to sue him and launched legal pro­ceed­ings for mis­use of con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion. Leigh Day, who is also act­ing for Laurie Kazan-Allen, demand­ed he return doc­u­ments. So far over 35,000 have been hand­ed over.

Dr Castleman recalled how Moore admit­ted spy­ing for K2 when he con­front­ed him by phone. “But he said along the way he had devel­oped sym­pa­thy and didn’t tell them any­thing they didn’t already know and was real­ly on our side.”

Dr Castleman does not buy it. “Rob had been telling me up to that point he was onto a sto­ry con­nect­ing Russian oli­garchs, Wall Street and peo­ple in London prof­i­teer­ing off asbestos. He nev­er got round to explain­ing it and said it was all ‘hush hush’ the way you would if you are mak­ing stuff up.”

It appears that a spooked Moore first start­ed devel­op­ing an exit strat­e­gy from cor­po­rate spy­ing in mid-2015. The plan involved rein­vent­ing him­self as a whistle­blow­er, much in the same way that he had rein­vent­ed him­self as a cam­paign­ing inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist in order to spy on peo­ple since 2007.

The need to get out of spy­ing appears to be dri­ven by a fear his cov­er had been blown – by 2015 some in the anti-asbestos move­ment were already begin­ning to sus­pect him.

Linda Reinstein, the co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation in the US, invit­ed Moore to two of her con­fer­ences – one in 2013, and the sec­ond in April 2015 – after an intro­duc­tion by Laurie Kazan-Allen.

It was Reinstein who warned Australian union offi­cial Barry Moore to “be careful”.

There was def­i­nite­ly some­thing amiss first time I saw him,” Reinstein said. “I watched how he wan­dered around – I’m a mum and a wid­ow and a busi­ness­woman, and I get strange vibes some­times. I just knew that he stunk.”

At the sec­ond con­fer­ence two years lat­er, Reinstein said Moore drew even more atten­tion – and sus­pi­cion – to him­self. “He was tak­ing pic­tures of every­one there. I told him that in all my years of organ­is­ing con­fer­ences, I’ve nev­er had any­one pho­to­graph every­one and every slide. He was out to catch as much data from our con­fer­ence as he could get. He played me. He’d get an Oscar for his role as a spy.”

Andrew Dettmer, nation­al pres­i­dent of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, came across Moore twice – once at an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence in Geneva in May 2015, and then six months lat­er in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dettmer says that Moore ingra­ti­at­ed him­self into a group of union del­e­gates, before he (Dettmer) was forced to con­front him. “At one stage, I had to take him aside and take him to task. He was basi­cal­ly try­ing to get us to do things, putting all these sug­ges­tions for­ward. At the time, I thought he was doing it for the pur­pos­es of mak­ing a more con­vinc­ing doc­u­men­tary, but of course now I real­ize what he was try­ing to do was… direct us in par­tic­u­lar ways that would poten­tial­ly open us up to col­lat­er­al attacks from the asbestos lobby.”

According to a source close to Moore, around this time, his part­ner was “wor­ried” about his dou­ble life and he was anx­ious that his younger sis­ter, the top BBC exec­u­tive, would be tar­nished by his unman­aged exposure.

So in May 2015, Moore approached a very senior British tele­vi­sion exec­u­tive from Mentorn Media, a lead­ing pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, with the idea of mak­ing a hard-hit­ting doc­u­men­tary about the asbestos indus­try. He told the exec­u­tive about his role as a spy but insist­ed he must not be outed.

Moore offered to pro­vide inside infor­ma­tion on the Kusto group while draw­ing wages for spy­ing on the anti-asbestos move­ment. It was an offer that raised some very eth­i­cal questions.

However, in the one year that Moore engaged with the TV exec­u­tive, he pro­duced no hard evi­dence of any­thing like the finan­cial con­spir­a­cy sto­ry he had spun to Dr Castelman and oth­ers. Rather, the spy went on to set up the bogus char­i­ty, Stop Asbestos, and con­tin­ued to sub­mit invoic­es to K2.

Matteo Bigazzi, from K2 Intelligence… he was cor­po­rate spy Robert Moore’s handler.

In June 2016, the Mentorn exec­u­tive intro­duced Moore to a senior jour­nal­ist at the BBC’s flag­ship cur­rent affairs strand. He too was under­whelmed by Moore’s dossier of evi­dence and walked away when the project start­ed to mutate into a fly-on-the-wall doc­u­men­tary about the spy’s jour­ney to redemp­tion. Moore even envis­aged a hero­ic end­ing where he is filmed out­ing him­self on stage at an anti-asbestos con­fer­ence full of del­e­gates he had spied on.

The whole scheme is not so sur­pris­ing giv­en Moore has claimed that since 2007 some TV com­pa­nies and broad­cast­ers were aware of his work as a cor­po­rate spy and saw it as a cheap and eth­i­cal way to research pro­gramme ideas.

In the end, no hard-hit­ting film was ever made with Moore about the asbestos indus­try. But nei­ther did any­one in tele­vi­sion respond like Global Witness to Moore’s con­fes­sion by alert­ing those he was betray­ing. It is not insignif­i­cant that the Judas journalist’s last invoice to K2 was dat­ed October 2016.

Moore told New Matilda: “I remain in an impos­si­ble posi­tion where I am pre­vent­ed from dis­cussing this case due to orders made by the Court to pro­tect par­ties to these pro­ceed­ings. I intend to abide by those orders. When all the facts can be made pub­lic, I will be in a posi­tion to tell the whole truth about these events. When I do so, I trust that my actions and the rea­sons behind them will become clear.”

K2 refus­es to dis­cuss its clients but has said it will defend the action brought by Leigh Day in the UK courts.

The Kusto Group has no office tele­phone num­ber and an email that does not work. It has, how­ev­er issued pub­lic state­ments in the past deny­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing and any link to the BTA fraud, which can be read as part of a media report here.

Contacts burnt

RETIRED Australian union offi­cial, Barry Robson – like so many anti-asbestos cam­paign­ers – bris­tles with anger at the mere men­tion of Robert Moore.

If I ever see him again, I’ll spit in his face. To me it was a trust thing. You think that he was going to make this doc­u­men­tary on ban­ning asbestos around the world… I’m so angry about it,” says Robson.

Laurie Kazan-Allen, whose near fatal heart attack Moore report­ed back to his pay­mas­ters, is bruised but undi­min­ished in her conviction.

Let the asbestos prof­i­teers be warned,” she said at a recent con­fer­ence. “Ours is a legit­i­mate, grass­roots cam­paign sup­port­ed by thou­sands of indi­vid­u­als around the world. Poisoning for prof­its is rep­re­hen­si­ble, uneth­i­cal and inde­fen­si­ble. Industry stake­hold­ers can no longer hide behind their wealth or posi­tions; you can­not silence those who have stared death in the face as they watched loved ones die excru­ci­at­ing deaths from asbestos can­cer. Ban asbestos cam­paign­ers will not be bul­lied or deterred from their efforts to make the world a safer place.”

By Michael Gillard & Chris Graham

LETHAL LIES: How A Corporate Spy For A Kazakhstan Company Infiltrated The Global Anti-Asbestos Network

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