Andrew Forrest: Twiggy’s Fortescue spying on former staff after bitter intellectual property stoush

The Nightly
Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue has reportedly spied on former staff, their wives and children amidst a bitter intellectual property stoush.
Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue has reportedly spied on former staff, their wives and children amidst a bitter intellectual property stoush. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest is in the spotlight after his company Fortescue reportedly hired private investigators to monitor former staff and their families.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported the surveillance went on for weeks before the homes and offices of former staff were raided over an intellectual property stoush.

The private investigators are said to have even spied on children.

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This action is part of Fortescue’s legal battle in the Federal Court over allegations of stolen intellectual property.

Former employees—Michael Masterman, Bart Kolodziejczyk, and Bjorn Winther-Jensen—have been accused of stealing Fortescue intellectual property before establishing a competing green iron project, Element Zero.

The accused have denied these allegations, with Mr Masterman, the CEO of Element Zero, labelling Fortescue’s claims as “spurious”.

Fortescue was granted permission to conduct raids of the homes and offices of the former employees in May.

In preparation for the raids, private investigators were hired to monitor Mr Kolodziejczyk and Mr Winther-Jensen for weeks.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the surveillance reports included photographs, Google Maps images of their residences, floor plans, and even photos of their wives and children.

These raids are understood to have been overseen by an independent lawyer and involving a computer expert.

According to recently released Federal Court documents, a psychologist was also present during the raids if children were in the home.

Fortescue declined the opportunity to provide a comment on the reports.

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