News : Extortion Probe at Government-funded Call Centre
Oct 22, 2014 -- A police investigation was launched into claims of extortion at a government-subsidised call centre just weeks before it closed down.
Call centre Aquira was shut and went into administration last month with the loss of 90 jobs after getting into financial difficulties.
The Glasgow-based marketing firm, which was opened by Alex Salmond and received funding from Scottish Enterprise, closed suddenly in September.
It can now be revealed police launched an investigation in August into allegations of extortion within the call centre at Pacific Quay in the city by a criminal gang.
The firm provided companies, including Vodafone and Scottish Power, with a marketing and sales force, to win and retain customers by phone, internet, email and social media.
When it opened last year Aquira was part-funded by a Regional Selective Assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise.
Police Scotland confirmed the investigation into the claims was still ongoing.
A force spokesman said: "On August 7, 2014 police received a report of alleged attempted extortion within a business premises at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. Inquiries are ongoing."
It is understood a number of people have been quizzed by officers but no one has yet been arrested.
A former employee told STV news: "A crime gang infiltrated the call centre and blackmailed the upper management to keep quiet and even threatened the owner’s son.
"The threat by email was so bad the CID got involved. Suspects were questioned by officers but they could find no evidence which linked them with the threats.
"Other suspects were questioned but no arrests were made due to owner’s reluctance to press charges."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The team at Aquira specialises in helping businesses find new customers, as well as up-sell and cross-sell to their existing customers.
Published: Friday, October 24, 2014
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