Nick Bortman of Raedas on Hollywood style investigations and gathering evidence during COVID-19

Chancery Lane Chats

11-05-2020 • 19 mins

In 2016, with lawyers often underwhelmed by the quality of investigative support, Nick Bortman filled the gap and co-founded Raedas - a corporate investigations consultancy purely focused on contentious work. Credible evidence for Raedas, means evidence that can stand up to scrutiny and make a real difference in resolving a dispute.

In this recording, made in the middle of the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown, Montfort Communications hears how this specialist consultancy thrives in a niche. Litigation and high stakes asset recovery are the name of its game with Nick sharing stories of corruption, smuggling and a prediction of a white-collar crime “uptick” during this global pandemic.

Dedication to contention

From testimonial evidence to strategy, Nick and his team work with London’s most prestigious law firms in their time of need. Whether it be complex legal disputes, hostile public relations or an exceptional crisis, legal counsel rely on the Raedas team to find the evidence that matters.

Evidence of platinum quality

How do they do it? Well, in pre-COVID times, Raedas investigators travelled the world to source only the most credible information. For Nick that meant face to face interviews no matter how far the team needed to go to obtain cross-examination resistant testimonials.

That is to say, unlike at some other investigation consultancies, at Raedas, there was no local outsourcing; no cutting corners.

Why? Without such diligence, “your testimony is not going to be very reliable”, Nick explains. Which makes sense, there is no place for a courtside game of ‘Chinese Whispers’ in the heat of a crisis driven storm.

Hollywood style investigations

However, these contentious investigative quests do lead Nick into some movie style situations.

In one exciting example, fraud, smuggling, ex-Scotland Yard officers and first-class flights to the other side of the world begin to colour the lengths investigators at Raedas will go to nail down credible evidence. Could it perhaps be said that Raedas is a law firm’s secret evidence-gathering weapon?

In his worst example, Nick explains that during one corruption investigation he was falsely accused of witness tampering – in fact, it was opposing counsel’s own investigators playing dirty.

“As an American citizen, you can imagine I didn't really appreciate someone making up that kind of thing and submitting it to the Justice Department,” Nick says.

Evidence gathering during COVID-19

Now, however, with social distancing and airplanes grounded around the world, investigations have become more challenging.

“I can't expect a potential witness or source to answer a cold call from me or one of my colleagues and then just within the space of, you know, a half an hour phone call start revealing their deepest secrets,” Nick says.

Though, he admits, lockdown boredom is making cold calls slightly more welcome – which, if nothing else shows that human psychology really is “an odd thing”.

COVID-19 means fraud

And finally, what does contentious specialist, Nick, think about COVID-19 and fraud? Well, governments’ better get their audit teams ready as he predicts those relief packages are set to be “merrily abused”.

Discussed in this podcast episode

  • Meet Nick Bortman, Co-Founder and Partner of corporate investigations consultancy, Raedas
  • Moving from journalism aspirations to law enforcement and investigations
  • Raedas in a “specialist niche”
  • Face to face interviews as the top priority
  • Nick’s most compelling investigation story
  • The effects of COVID-19, interviews and white-collar crime