HOUSTON, TEXAS â€“ September 24, 2007 â€“ ASI Group, a leading provider of global risk-management services, showed unprecedented growth in its investigative division during the past year, causing ASI to increase staffing by nearly 400 percent. Corporate due diligence and background checks account for the vast majority of the expansion.
FinCen (the U.S. Department of Treasuryâ€™s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network www.fincen.gov) is driving many U.S. businesses to determine the history and status of potential business partners, associates and vendors, as they must protect themselves against dubious associations, financial loss and problematic relationships.
â€œIt takes a unique network to pull off accurate due diligence work, and we possess that here at ASI,â€ said Dan Johnson, manager of ASIâ€™s investigations. â€œWeâ€™re not just inputting names into a database. We follow through with the information we find, contact authorities, organizations and even political parties to uncover the facts. Sometimes allegations are unwarranted, and our job is to dig deep to expose the truth.â€
ASI investigators have helped Western Union, the U.S.-based money transfer company, do just that. Phil Hopkins, vice president of corporate security, said, â€œWestern Union has long utilized the ASI Customized World WatchÂ® and Travel Security Manager services. It was only natural that when we needed assistance with our global due diligence program we would turn to ASI. The security professionals at ASI helped develop a program specifically for Western Union that greatly enhanced our ability to meet ever increasing domestic and international due diligence requirements. Our partnership with the ASI Group is critical to our mission to protect the Western Union brand name.â€
Western Union is just one of many corporations working proactively to protect their business. ASI recently completed due diligence for a medical company acquiring research facilities in Russia. Before proceeding with the deal, ASI checked on potential ties to the Russian Mafia, human and narcotics trafficking and money laundering, along with links to terror and European watch lists.
In another case, ASI took over an investigation midstream for a U.S. company purchasing a Mexico-based farming operation. Initial due diligence from the first investigative company employed revealed that the Mexico operation had ties to money laundering schemes with the Mexican Mafia. However, after further investigation with the Agencia Federal de InvestigaciÄ‚Å‚n (AFI), Mexicoâ€™s FBI, and other resources, ASI discovered that a political scandal incited the suspicion. In reality, the Mexico operation had a clean record. ASIâ€™s client proceeded with the acquisition.
ASI uses these same thorough tactics when conducting background screenings and pre-employment checks. â€œWe never rely on what an informational database might output,â€ said Charlie LeBlanc, president of ASI. â€œItâ€™s just too easy to find improper results from quick online checks. Our investigators orchestrate a much more detailed inquiry so our clients can receive precise data and make well informed decisions.â€
In many cases, assignments require ASI to call in its extensive pool of agents to gather and verify information on location. Their investigations supply vulnerability assessments and a detailed overview of: