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The Core Four

The issues that are on security consultant Paul Viollis’ mind right now.

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With the tabloids—and mainstream media—abuzz over Jeff Bezos’ stolen texts and pictures, Worth checked in with security consultant Paul Viollis, chief executive officer of Viollis Group International, to see what security issues are top of mind for him. Here are four of them.


“President Trump is a fan of ICE. He firmly believes in utilizing ICE, and the focus for ICE is going to be immigration in concert with MS 13 gang activity. So affluent families that are building or renovating have to make sure that your contractors, all of them, are vetted. If ICE comes to their job site because they got a tip that MS 13 members are on the job site, everyone’s liable. It comes down to who knew and should have known.”


“The second thing that everyone in the wealth management world has to be very, very careful of is the redefining of due diligence so as to ensure compliance with the Patriot Act, the post-9/11 law that expanded the surveillance powers of the government.

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“Say that you and I are going to get involved in a transaction that involves a company in Dubai. So we check the numbers of the client list in the business plan. We check the financial end of that transaction to make sure there’s going to be a solid ROI.

“What we aren’t doing is checking the sources of the money. There is so much money from ISIS, as well as Mexican cartels, that is being washed, because the humans aren’t being vetted.

“If you are involved with a company that’s laundering money for ISIS, the FBI is going to show up at your office with a whole bunch of windbreakers—and if you haven’t at least done the basics, your business is done. But if you have the first line of defense of, ’Hey, we did vet them,’ at least you did what was reasonable, and that’s a great defense.”


“Last year my firm handled more extortion cases than ever—it was over 50. But with more people traveling outside the country, kidnapping is a great business model. Secure chats and secure email are really to me the same thing. We need to passionately secure our email transmissions and chats. Why did Jeff Bezos not do this? It’s crazy.”

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“I’m apolitical, but the American brand is struggling outside the United States. So international travel must be preemptively vetted,from ground transportation, to the events that people are attending, to where they’re staying. I have a client whose daughter was going to go to the Dominican Republic with her sorority sisters to stay at a particular location, and that location was well known to local police for complaints by guests about being groped and sexually assaulted by male employees. So vetting the itinerary is critical.

“It’s just smart business. I will have at least two or three parents who ask me to vet something for their kids. I tell the kids not to go there. They do anyway, and then the parents retain me to get their kids back.”

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