Pat McQuaid has fired back at a report in the Financial Times which claimed that his laptop computer was seized within minutes of Brian Cookson winning the UCI presidential election last month.
In a message sent to Cyclingnews late Thursday evening, McQuaid wrote, “That story is bullshit - my laptop was with me in Florence and came back to Switzerland with me - a week later I gave it to the UCI to clear my UCI files and the laptop is now back with me!!”
Within an hour of winning the UCI election Cookson and his campaign staff had sent an email to the UCI’s employees, in which he confirmed that Kroll, a private investigation firm would be collection data from the UCI staff’s computers.
Kroll specialises in fraud, financial, bribery and other investigations with an expertise in computer forensics.
The letter states that, “I asked Kroll, a data collections and investigations company to make a copy of our servers and some computers over the weekend. This data will be secured and the legal agreement we have with Kroll is that no-one will have access to it. The data will be transferred to the independent commission when it has been established and its terms of reference agreed. I want to reassure you that this is purely for the purpose of investigating serious allegations only, of the sort that appeared in the USADA Reasoned Decision. This preservation of data is for this specific purpose only. It will not be used for any other purpose.”
Kroll was founded in the 1970s and has offices all over the world, including Switzerland, where the UCI is based. They have been previously described as the Wall Street’s “private eye.”
Cookson had told the Financial Times that "Kroll had to secure the computers. They took all the back-up tapes and all the IT stuff. They were available to make sure that nothing was destroyed that shouldn't be destroyed."
Kroll told Cyclingnews: “We specialise in Data Recovery, we are the World Leader in the field and do approximately 50,000 recoveries a year Worldwide. We work with a cross section of both (multi-national companies and individual users), we have services to meet the needs of the majority of people who request our service.”
Kroll would not supply a list of their international clients. “Unfortunately I cannot due to data protection and our Non Disclosure agreements. We do work with the Government and the Police, along with many FTSE 100 companies”.
However it’s public knowledge that the firm has worked with the Reichmann family surrounding false allegations of collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War. Other investigations involved money cover ups for Saddam Hussein and Italian banker Roberto Calvi.
Cookson told Cyclingnews during the Tour de France presentation in Paris that he is set to unveil more details relating to the investigation into the UCI in the coming days but has confirmed that WADA are cooperating with the project.