BrewDog's James Watt: 'a criminal prosecution for fraud is under way'

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Reply given: BrewDog co-founder James Watt posted a response to the Guardian article on social media
Reply given: BrewDog co-founder James Watt posted a response to the Guardian article on social media

Related tags: Beer, Brewdog, James watt, Craft beer

BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt says a criminal prosecution is under way for fraud and malicious communication over an alleged campaign of online harassment directed against him.

In a post on social media in response to an article in the Guardian​​​ that reports he hired private investigators to gather evidence of alleged smear campaign, Watt says that he has been subject to a two year-long “coordinated criminal campaign of online harassment, defamation, blackmail, significant fraud, and malicious communications” with people on a plot to bring him down.

He says he subsequently engaged the services of digital investigative specialists to “seek to identify the source of these damaging and false allegations and identify the individuals who defrauded me”.

Previous headlines

“As a direct result of those actions, and following a court order obtained from the High Court based on written evidence, we were able to identify individuals involved,” he says.
 
“I have a duty to act in the best interests of the company, our employees and investors: this duty extends to protecting the business from malicious individuals who wish to cause us harm.”

Watt and BrewDog have made the headlines over the past few months after former staff accused the company​​​ of creating a 'culture of fear'​​​. Watt has subsequently accepted responsibility and apologised.

Further allegations of inappropriate behaviour were then made in a BBC documentary in January, with Watt describing it ​​​as containing “false rumours and disinformation”.

Something different

As well as the criminal prosecution taking place in London Watt says there are related civil proceedings under way in The Court of Session in Scotland. There is also a separate police complaint against a PwP founder for blackmail.
 
“Criticism of our business is fine and often warranted – I fully accept that. Colluding in illegal activity to damage me or the business is not,” Watt adds in the post.
 
“While the last few months have been tough, I’ve never been more motivated to support and lead the continued development of this amazing business and our fantastic people.
 
“This was never about money for myself or Martin. Ever. We could have cashed out years ago... It’s about doing something different and building a business we are proud of and I’m sorry that there are a handful of people on a criminal mission to bring us down.”

Related topics: Beer

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