Darktrace has been caught in the crossfire of a legal dispute in Canada.
One of the cybersecurity company’s senior salespeople allegedly helped a hockey players’ association official arrange a “secret” deal to funnel money to an employee.
Allan Etherington, a former technical support analyst with the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), claims in an ongoing lawsuit that he and a colleague witnessed an October 2018 email exchange between Stephen Frank, the former director of technology and security of the association. and Darktrace sales manager Chris Patton.
In the exchange, contained in court documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday, Patton is said to have agreed with Frank a purchase by the NHLPA of a Darktrace product, known as Antigena, worth £30,000.
The deal also included a “secret commission negotiation” for Frank’s business partner Kristina Falcomer. Patton wrote in a June 2018 email to Frank, “I’ve been thinking of something creative.”
Allegations: Darktrace has been caught in the crossfire of a legal dispute in Canada
“If you want to enroll in Antigena, we can do that through Kristina and give her a larger card.” [percentage] than she would normally receive as a partner.’
Etherington claims Frank then asked Patton to remove all references to the agreement from documents and invoices between the NHLPA and Darktrace.
In another email, Patton added: “I can confirm that Kristina Falcomer will receive 35 percent of the agreement. NHLPA will pay Darktrace and Darktrace will pay Kristina 35 percent.”
Etherington is suing the NHLPA, claiming he was fired for blowing the whistle on Frank’s activities. The NHLPA has denied the allegations. Frank was fired in November 2018 following the investigation.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Patton is the vice president of sales at 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 litigation threatens to raise further questions about Darktrace’s business practices, following an attack earlier this year by short seller Quintessential Research, which claimed in a January report that it was “deeply skeptical” of the company’s finances.
A review of Darktrace accounts by auditor EY found a “small number” of accounting errors but no evidence of fraud. The NHLPA and Darktrace declined to comment.