Darktrace has been caught in the crossfire of a legal row in Canada.
One of the cybersecurity firm’s senior salesmen is alleged to have helped an official at a hockey players’ association to arrange a ‘surreptitious’ deal to funnel funds to an associate.
Allan Etherington, a former technical support analyst at the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), alleges in an ongoing lawsuit that in October 2018 he and a colleague discovered an email exchange between Stephen Frank, the association’s former director of technology and security, and Darktrace sales director Chris Patton.
In the exchange, included in court documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday, Patton allegedly arranged with Frank a £30,000 purchase of a Darktrace product, known as Antigena, by the NHLPA.
The deal also included a ‘surreptitious commission negotiation’ for Frank’s business associate, Kristina Falcomer. Patton wrote in an email to Frank dated June 2018: ‘I’ve thought of something creative.
Allegations: Darktrace has been caught in the crossfire of a legal row in Canada
‘If you wanted to sign up for Antigena, we could do it through Kristina and can give her a larger [percentage] than she would normally receive as a partner.’
Etherington claims Frank then requested Patton remove any references to the arrangement from documents and invoices between the NHLPA and Darktrace.
In another email, Patton added: ‘I can confirm that Kristina Falcomer will receive 35 per cent of the agreement. NHLPA will pay Darktrace and Darktrace will pay Kristina 35 per cent.’
Etherington is suing the NHLPA claiming he was sacked for blowing the whistle on Frank’s activities. The NHLPA has denied the allegations. Frank was fired in November 2018 after the probe.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Patton is vice-president of sales for Darktrace in Canada. When contacted by The Mail on Sunday he said he was on sabbatical leave. Neither Patton nor Darktrace are parties to the case.
The legal wrangle threatens to raise further questions about Darktrace’s business practices following an attack earlier this year from short-seller Quintessential Research, which alleged in a report in January that it was ‘deeply sceptical’ about the firm’s finances.
A review of Darktrace accounts by auditor EY uncovered a ‘small number’ of accounting errors, but no evidence of fraud. The NHLPA and Darktrace declined to comment.