Aegis Defence Services

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Also known as Aegis Specialist Risk Management.

Based in London, the company was founded by former Scots Guard Tim Spicer who made headlines with the Sandline affair when he was caught shipping 30 tons of arms to Sierra Leone in apparent violation of a UN weapons embargo and arrested in the 1997 abortive coup in Papua New Guinea. His friend and former Sandline business partner, the ex-SAS officer Simon Mann, also later made headlines for his role as manager of a thwarted coup plot in Equatorial Guinea in 2004. Frederick Forsyth, the author of 'Dogs of War', is an Aegis shareholder.



Aegis was founded by Tim Spicer in late 2002.[1]

Iraq Contract - Project Matrix

In March 2004, Aegis was awarded a $293 million dollar security contract in Iraq.[2] This contract is known internally as Project Matrix.[3]

According to Naomi Klein, the CPA's Project Management Office contracted with the firm to protect its employees from "assassination, kidnapping, injury and "embarrassment." In a separate contract, the firm also provides security for employees working on the Iraqi Oil-for-Food corruption inquiry.

Spicer told journalist Robert Young Pelton that he bid for the contact after finding the US government's request for proposal on the internet:

However, multiple sources with intimate knowledge of Aegis's bid have alleged to me that PMO (Project Management Office) security chief Brigadier Anthony Hunter-Choat and Brigadier General James Ellery helped formulate the specifications for the RFP with Aegis in mind.[4]

Acording to a former employee of the PMO interviewed by Pelton, Ellery advised Spicer throughout the process.[5]

James Ellery was later employed at Aegis's Baghdad office. After the State Department demanded his dismissal, he left the country but was appointed to Aegis's board of directors.[6]

The contract award was the subject of a protest by rival US security company DynCorp.[7]

The firm employs a total of 930 people in Iraq and besides coordinating communications between coalition forces, civilian contractors working on reconstruction projects, and their private security firms, it also provides bodyguards for senior American and Iraqi officials. It operates one national and six regional command-centres and acts as a link between coalition forces and civilian contractors on security issues, relaying information on rebel activity. [ref/date?]

Employing ex military from Deepcut

Sergeant Michael Dauscha was dismissed from the army after being caught stealing from a supermarket. He stands accused of being involved in systematic cruelty at the Deepcut barracks. He ended up working for a private army in Iraq. In March’s official report into four deaths at the Deepcut army base he was identified only as Sergeant BB and slammed for his “foul abuse” of recruits. The ex-staff sergeant was at Deepcut for 13 months between 1998 and 1999.
Last month’s report by QC Nicholas Blake accused Sergeant BB of hitting male and female recruits, making crude sexual taunts at women and humiliating others at Deepcut in Surrey. He once rode a bike over three squaddies. Dauscha was not at Deepcut when four teenage recruits died between 1995 and 2002 and the report did not implicate him. But the military police recommended he face 11 abuse charges from his time there.
Dauscha ended up working in Iraq for security firm Aegis. Aegis has a $293 million Pentagon contract to coordinate the dozens of private security forces operating in Iraq as well as providing its own teams of bodyguards to the Pentagon. There are 50 private security companies in Iraq, with an estimated 20,000 hired guns working for them. Aegis is supposed to coordinate them all.
Aegis Defence Services had profits of £62 million last year. Rt Hon Field Marshal Lord Inge, the former head of the British army, is a non excutive director of Aegis. Inge sat as part of the team that cleared the government over its claims of weapons of mass destruction in the Butler report. Right wing novelist Frederick Forsyth is also a major shareholder.
Despite now being sacked from his £80,000 a year Baghdad post with Aegis, Dauscha said, “They’ve been very supportive. I’ll probably be going back to Iraq shortly.” Aegis is run by Tim Spicer, a former army lieutenant colonel. Two soldiers in a British military unit under Spicer’s command shot and killed a Catholic teenager, Peter McBride, in Northern Ireland in 1992. The soldiers were subsequently convicted of murder, yet Spicer has steadfastly defended them.[8]

Trophy videos in Iraq

Rod Stoner, a former British army officer and Aegis employee, who worked for the company between 2004 and 2005, posted videos on the internet implicating Aegis in shooting civilians in Iraq. According to a statement from Stoner, “We don’t know whether it was an innocent civilian or whether that was an insurgent—we don’t know, because we never stop.”
The series of “trophy” videos appear to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on “Route Irish”, a road that links the airport to Baghdad.
In one of the videos, a car is fired on at a distance of several hundred yards before it crashes into a taxi. In another, a white civilian car is raked with machine gun fire as it approaches an unidentified security company vehicle. Bullets can be seen hitting the car before it comes to a slow stop.
Despite denying that the videos had anything to do with Aegis employees, the security company got a high court injunction last Friday against Stoner. This closed down the website and prohibited him from speaking to the press.[9]

IPOA membership bid

In November 2005 Aegis tried to join the International Peace Operations Association (IPOA), the only trade organization for security contractors. Aegis' membership bid comes just as the IPOA is trying to reposition the industry as for-profit providers of armed men as peacekeepers. The IPOA rejected Spicer's company in a vote. Spicer was 'surprised' by IPOA's initial rejection 'especially since we were invited to apply,' he said in a telephone interview with Corporate Watch in 2005.

PR and Lobbying Firms

Aegis are clients of The S.P.A. Way. a London-based PR firm run by Sara Pearson.[10] The company claims that it does not charge a fee unless its coverage meets three strict criteria, that it should:

  1. Be an original piece set up by the Agency
  2. Be in the agreed media
  3. Carry a minimum of 2 of the 3 agreed messages[11]

A great deal of coverage of Aegis in the UK media could arguably be seen as fitting these requirements.

Pearson's association with Aegis boss Tim Spicer goes back to 1997 when the two were introduced through Michael Grunberg. Pearson hosted the press conference that took place on Spicer's return to Britain following the Sandline Affair in Papua New Guinea. [12]

Move to Switzerland

The Basler Zeitung reported on 9 August 2010, that Aegis had created a Swiss holding company based in Basel. The new company Aegis Group Holdings AG, had a capital of 225,000 Swiss Francs, and was headed by Kristian Meier.[13]

The Associated Press report that Aegis' seven owners had swapped their stakes in the UK company for shares in the Basel-based vehicle.[14]

David Isenberg reported for the Huffington Post:

A source sent me the Share Exchange Agreement detailing the conversion of Aegis Defence Services to Aegis Group Holdings AG, which was signed by all parties,
This is a straightforward share exchange whereby each of the shareholders has swapped their shares in the UK company for a new Swiss company set up to own the UK company. The SEA is the document which underlies the transfer of Aegis ownership and control "offshore" from the UK to Switzerland, presumably for tax efficiency. Assuming all operations, billings and management now takes place through the holding company, i.e., outside of UK tax jurisdiction and, reportedly, some of the shareholders have relocated to Switzerland for this purpose, then future profits will be subject to Swiss, not Uk taxes.[15]


  • Graham Binns - Chief executive
  • Oona Muirhead - CBE. Previously worked in the UK MOD for 23 years. Joined Aegis as Advisor on Regulation, Standards and Compliance in September 2012, and chairs Aegis’s Quality Management Review Board. Oona represents Aegis at the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) and was appointed onto the SCEG Executive Board in January 2013. Oona’s background is in defence, government relations and business support.
  • Graham Thomas - Managing director, Aegis Advisory
  • Anna Hensel - Director, Oil and Gas. She is 'responsible for business development for high threat security and risk consulting services'. Has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry and has previously worked for Marathon Oil and Amoco, where she advised on global policy and commercial initiatives.
  • Giles Harrison -Director Operations. Responsible for the delivery of Aegis security services globally. He was a colonel in the British Army, where he pursued a fast-track career. The highlights of his military career included managing a multi-stakeholder, multi-billion pound programme at the UK Ministry of Defence. [16]

Directors at 26 March 2010

Shareholders in period up to to 26 March 2010

Former Directors


References, Resources and Contact




  1. Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown, 2006, p.272.
  2. Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown, 2006, p.272.
  3. Steve Fanaru and Alec Klein, In Iraq, a Private Realm Of Intelligence-Gathering, Washington Post, 1 July 2007.
  4. Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown, 2006, p.277.
  5. Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown, 2006, p.279.
  6. Robert Young Pelton, Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, Crown, 2006, p.279.
  7. Tony Geraghty, Guns For Hire: The Inside Story of Freelance Soldiering, Piatkus, 2007, p.31.
  8. Simon Basketter 'Bullying sergeant went from Deepcut barracks to Iraq' Socialist Worker > archive > dated 15 April 2006 | issue 1996
  9. Videos implicate Aegis Socialist Worker > archive > dated 15 April 2006 | issue 1996
  10. The S.P.A. Way - Those Who Pay Us
  11. The S.P.A. Way - Our Proposition
  12. Tim Spicer, An Unorthodox Soldier: Peace and War and the Sandline Affair, Mainstream Publishing, 2003, p187-188.
  13. Britische Privatarmee gründet Holding-Sitz in Basel, Basler Zeitung, 9 August 2010.
  14. Associated Press, Report: Security firm Aegis creates Swiss holding, Business Week, 9 August 2010.
  15. David Isenberg, Making a PSC Profit, Huffington Post, 17 August 2010.
  16. [ Aegis World - Who we are, Aegis website, undated, acc 10 February 2014
  17. Aegis Defence Services Limited, Annual Return, Companies House, 23 April 2010.
  18. Aegis Defence Services Limited, Annual Return, Companies House, 23 April 2010.
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