WASHINGTON, D.C.—Environmental group Greenpeace has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Dow Chemical, Sasol North America and contractors including public relations firms Ketchum and Dezenhall Resources engaged in a two-year campaign of illegal corporate espionage to gather information on the activist organization and its allies.
A 56-page suit, filed by Greenpeace in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, says the two companies and their public relations firm hired investigators to engage in "clandestine and unlawful" actions, including the theft of thousands of confidential documents, including campaign plans, employee records and donor and media lists.
The suit claims that agents broke into Greenpeace offices and mounted a campaign "surveillance and intrusion" against employees and others.
Ketchum said it had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and therefore could not comment on the charges. According to a spokesperson: “We have not formally received the papers yet and, therefore, cannot speak to any of the specifics in the complaint. We will review it thoroughly and address it in the appropriate venue. As a company that views integrity as fundamental to our values, we take this matter seriously.”