Hakluyt & Company Limited

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Hakluyt & Company Limited is a British private intelligence agency, "...staffed almost entirely by ex-intelligence [services] staff", according to a 2006 report in The Times.[1] Owned by Holdingham Group Limited.

The company was founded in April 1995.[2]

Spying on Greenpeace

In 2001 the Sunday Times revealed that Hakluyt had been hired to spy on Greenpeace:

"...German-born Manfred Schlickenrieder, was hired by Hakluyt, an agency that operates from offices in London's West End. Schlickenrieder was known by the code name Camus and had worked for the German foreign intelligence service gathering information about terrorist groups, including the Red Army Faction..."
"One of his assignments from Hakluyt was to gather information about the movements of the motor vessel Greenpeace in the north Atlantic... Both BP and Shell admit hiring Hakluyt, but say they were unaware of the tactics used. Shell said it had wanted to protect its employees against possible attack."[3]

"No dirty tricks" says Hakluyt chief

Hakluyt's use of Schlickenrieder appears at odds with statements made to the Financial Times in 2000 by Hakluyt's Christopher James:

"The foundation has a vital role. In the words of Mr James, it provides 'reassurance that we are not just a tearaway bunch of ex-government officials'. It ensures Hakluyt abides by a code of practice, which has an absolute ban on doing anything illegal, any dirty tricks. Asked if this might disappoint some clients, Mr James is firm: 'We just don't do it.' Nor does Hakluyt operate by tip-fees for information. Mr Maclay adds: 'We talk to the high-ups, not the hard-ups.' Hakluyt, like the services, regards paid-for information as less reliable than information given freely."[2]

Hakluyt to Enron: "All our work is unattributable."

In May 2001, Christopher James of Hakluyt wrote to Enron's Jeff Skilling:

"Following Phil Carroll's letter to you of April 16 I would be delighted to call on you to tell you more about Hakluyt. While we have already done some work for Enron (Scott Tholan), virtually all our work for our clients is at a strategic level where our coverage of issues is of greatest value. With your challenging international objectives I am confident we could be of value to you. If you would find it useful to meet I will contact your office to arrange a suitable time."[4]

In an apparent follow-up email in August of that year, James expanded on what Hakluyt could offer:

"Your office has asked me to outline Hakluyt's services. Rather than fall back on the usual corporate information that we have sent to your people previously, I would say simply this; Hakluyt is what you make of it - it places an unparalleled private intelligence network at the personal disposal of senior commercial figures."
"The range of deployments we have completed for core clients is wide. In all cases we guarantee complete confidentiality. And, although we work for divisional directors on tactical issues, we have found our most rewarding work in personal dealings with CEOs who wish - for whatever reason - to have a confidential agency at their own disposal. It was this, which prompted Phil Carroll to write to you about us in April as he has found our work of considerable value to him personally. We look at people and the issues, which often drive them to make the decisions or act as they do. All our work is unattributable... We also have an association with Kissinger/McLarty Associates for although our work is very different the services we both provide can be complementary. Our US client base is increasing well but at the same time we wish to remain small and discreet."[5]

Recommended by Shell CEO?

James's assertion that Phil Carroll wrote to Enron's Skilling in April 2001 about Hakluyt appears likely to be a reference to a former Shell CEO. In January 2006, Carroll was quoted by the Houston Chronicle as a friend of disgraced Enron CEO Ken Lay:

"Despite the burdens of his high-profile indictment, Lay hasn't lost his warm demeanor, according to his friends. 'Ken is always extremely pleasant,' said Phil Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil Co. who served as the Bush administration's first energy czar in Iraq."
"Carroll lives a floor below Lay in the Huntingdon high-rise in River Oaks. He often sees Lay in the elevator and occasionally Carroll and his wife, Linda, dine with the Lays. Carroll wouldn't provide specifics, other than to say the trial does not dominate the dining room chatter. 'I'm sure he must be concerned about the situation he finds himself in, but there's no whining or wringing of the hands or anything like that,' he said."[6]

Courting a Journalist

Melissa Sweet, a freelance Australian health journalist, reports that she recently received an email from a staffer with Hakluyt. In it she was asked if she would like to become part of a "network of well-placed individuals around the world who are able to provide us, very discreetly, with intelligence on specific commercial or political issues that may arise." In particular, they were seeking her assistance for an anonymous "financial institution" client on "a new project on the new Australian government's healthcare policy -- how realistic their reform ambitions really are", "the role of the private sector" and other matters. Sweet responded by pointing out that she was a journalist not a consultant. Undeterred, the Hakluyt staffer wrote back explaining that as a journalist she was likely to have "dozens of well-placed sources in the field and that the company already has "a number of quality, usually specialist journalists that we deal with". In 2001 Hakluyt was outed for infiltrating Greenpeace in Europe.[7]

Current and former members of staff

Name Job title Minimum dates of tenure Email Ref
Christopher James Founder, Director April 1995-2004 christopher.james AT hakluyt.co.uk [2]
Christopher Wilkins Founder April 1995-1996 [2]
Mike Reynolds Director 1995-? [2]
Jeremy Connell Director 1995-? [2]
Michael Maclay ? 1997-? [2]
Carl Bildt ? 1997-? [2]
Anna Youens ? 2001 anna.youens AT hakluyt.co.uk [5]
Daisy Bidwell ? 2005 daisy.bidwell AT hakluyt.co.uk [8]
Sir Anthony Hammond QC Legal counsel ?-2006 ? [9]
Robert Webb (UK) QC Non-executive director and legal counsel 2006 ? [9]

Contact details

Hakluyt & Company Limited,
34 Upper Brook Street,
London W1K 7QS.
Tel: +44 20 7491 7091
Fax: +44 20 7491 1844
Web: http://www.hakluyt.co.uk/ [10]

SourceWatch resources


  1. Liz Chong, "Ex-MI6 man spies opening as head of GPW", The Times, April 10, 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Stephen Overell, "Masters of the great game turn to business: Globalisation and cross-border mergers are increasing demand for Hakluyt s brand of intelligence, says Stephen Overell", Financial Times, March 23, 2000.
  3. Maurice Chittenden and Nicholas Rufford, "MI6 'Firm' Spied on Green Groups", Sunday Times, June 17, 2001. Via commondreams.org.
  4. "Email from Christopher James to Jeff Skilling, Craig Keith, and Anna Youens", May 24, 2001. Accessed via Enron Explorer website, July 1, 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Email from Anna Youens (on behalf of Christopher James) to Jeff Skilling", August 7, 2001. Accessed via Enron Explorer website, July 1, 2007.
  6. John C. Roper, "Ken Lay eager to reclaim his reputation", Houston Chronicle, January 25, 2006.
  7. Melissa Sweet, "Turning journalists into spooks?", Crikey,July 31, 2008. (Sub req'd).
  8. "Spencer Cricket Club - Officers", May 23, 2005.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "LegalMoves - Business Development Support for Lawyers" (PDF), Volume 2, Issue 1, January 15, 2006.
  10. Hakluyt website. Undated, accessed July 1, 2007.

External links