Tuffnells Parcels Express is taking legal action against DX Group in relation to alleged corporate espionage, according to a claim filed in the High Court last week.
The claim, revealed in a report in the Sunday Times, alleges that three DX Group employees conspired to obtain daily customer service reports from Tuffnells in October 2020.
Sheffield-based Tuffnells is seeking damages and demanding DX account for all profits arising from its use of confidential data.
In a statement DX Group confirmed that it has “received a claim from Tuffnell Parcels Express in relation to confidential competitor information being obtained by DX in the past.
“Matters referred to in the claim were subject to a corporate governance inquiry and investigation by DX, the conclusions of which were reported by the company in an announcement made on 20 September 2022. The group intends to defend its position robustly and will respond to the claim in due course.”
Evidence of corporate espionage by DX employees first emerged last year when the group published the findings of a corporate governance inquiry and a subsequent internal investigation, which revealed that confidential competitor information was obtained “over a period of time.” The report did not reveal the name of the competitor.
The investigation also found that DX had failed to take sufficient disciplinary action against employees who had offered a bribe for the confidential competitor information.
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DX chief executive Lloyd Dunn stepped down in September last year ahead of the release of the findings of the investigation, with DX chairman Ron Series retiring just weeks later.
Series departure followed shareholders criticism of his handling of the corporate governance enquiry which resulted in the resignation of Grant Thornton, the group’s auditors, in February last year.
The auditor cited “actual or potential breaches of law and/or regulations by the company” as the reason for its resignation, as well as “the performance of the investigation and subsequent corporate governance inquiry” and “provision of inaccurate information, which in Grant Thornton’s view did not give a full picture of the scale and seriousness of the facts”.
DX said at the time that it “does not consider that the reasons provided by Grant Thornton accurately reflect the current situation”.
As a result of the auditor's resignation DX’s accounts were delayed by almost 12 months which led to its shares being suspended.
Series has since been replaced by Mark Hammond, a former chairman of Tuffnells Parcels Express, whilst Lloyd Dunn was replaced by the recent appointment of Paul Ibbetson, managing director of DX Freight, who previously worked at Tuffnells.