Espionage scandal causes INNVA ruin

New Eden News | YC109-06-05

The tale of Innovaatio Varustukset (INNVA) reached a new low on Sunday the 3rd. Hours after its sale to Ishukone was finalized, the main research station of INNVA was attacked and destroyed, wiping out years of work and ruining the company financially. Behind everything was a Nugoeihuvi Corporation employee, pulling the strings of several high profile corporations, including pod pilots.

Early on the 3rd, Kaalakiota (KK) withdrew its objection to the sale of INNVA from the Caldari Business Tribunal. Publicly citing "new evidence exonerating Ishukone of any wrong doing in the bidding," the exact reasons for KK’s filing of the dismissal were initially classified. Following today’s events, it has been revealed that KK had been acting on falsified information provided by Haanti Vaastun, an NOH employee.

When asked why they trusted the information, provided by their chief rival in the Caldari State, KK representatives replied: "The information was very convincing." A high ranking official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added: "In the current climate of the Caldari State, it was easy to believe that any company - Ishukone or any others - would resort to questionable practices to secure a deal. And since we are in the same financial straights as everyone else, we were eager to exhaust every legal effort to claim INNVA for ourselves. We never expected things to turn out like this."

With INNVA’s assets frozen, the company was forbidden from transferring its research or property to Ishukone, as such a transfer could undermine the fair business interests of other bidders. This gave the opportunity for the espionage on INNVA to commence.

It started on April 27th, when an Ishukone Watch patrol, tasked with guarding an INNVA lab, was distracted by what Ishukone claimed at the time were "pirates with a grudge." As would become a recurring theme, these "pirates with a grudge" ended up being the Omerta Syndicate (O-SYN), a well-known capsuleer corporation whose motto "Learn what it means to be Caldari" belies their tensions with the State, and outright hostility with Ishukone. The lab was robbed by an unidentified group of commandos, while the Watch battled O-SYN.

Then, on May 16th, a science vessel belonging to INNVA, and piloted by an Ishukone Watch pilot, was attacked and destroyed by O-SYN, along with the new prototype cloaking device it was carrying. One of the scientists on board survived and was transported to Venal, where he was turned over to the Guristas. Hours later, the scientist was rescued by Internal Security, acting under the orders of Haanti Vaastun.

New evidence, including the testimonies of several arrested Guristas, indicates that there was no battle to save the scientist, as was originally reported, but rather a simple pre-arranged exchange between the Guristas starbase commander and Vaastun. The scientist was then kept in a NOH medical facility, where his numerous injuries were treated.

The scientist, who was finally released today following the revelation, revealed that during his convalescence, he was constantly kept drugged to help control pain that, the scientist said, he never experienced. He was frequently visited by Vaastun, who questioned him about INNVA’s research, their facilities, security measures, among other things. The scientist admits that, in his state, he answered many of the questions as truthfully as he could.

Things finally came to a head on Saturday the 3rd, when KK revealed all it knew to the Caldari Business Tribunal. The Tribunal immediately approved the sale of INNVA to Ishukone, which was completed relatively quietly at 18:00. The Caldari Navy immediately issued a warrant for the arrest of Vaastun on charges of multiple charges of espionage, falsifying business transactions, obstructing the regular flow of business, and numerous lesser charges, including murder and kidnapping.

An hour later, Vaastun and an O-SYN fleet arrived in Aivoli, where they attacked the main INNVA research outpost. The outpost personnel were just beginning to transfer their research and data to Ishukone vessels when the attack began.

The outpost, though heavily defended by Ishukone Watch ships, eventually came under fire from the surviving O-SYN ships. As reinforcements were called in, the outpost staff panicked and activated a highly experimental and untested cloaking device, designed to cover an entire starbase.

The cloaking device worked for several minutes, but continually malfunctions brought the outpost under fire several more times. The outpost would have been destroyed completely, if not for the timely intervention of the Caldari Navy, who scrambled a rescue fleet upon receiving the outpost’s distress call.

The first Navy officer on the scene, Captain Jansko, ordered O-SYN to stand down and withdraw. They held their fire, but did not leave immediately. The Navy placed the surprised Vaatsun under arrest, taking control of his ship with NOH-supplied override codes. It was not until Admiral Tovaan arrived in his Wyvern-class mothership that O-SYN withdrew completely. The outpost location was declared a crime scene and O-SYN’s request to return and scavenge wrecks, including those of their own ships was denied.

Vaastun was escorted to a holding facility, where he will await trial.

Despite the Navy intervention, the majority of the research at the outpost was destroyed. Much of the outpost suffered severe damage, including the destruction of every remaining prototype cloak and much of the computer systems that held the research data. In addition, the experimental station-wide cloaking device caused widespread systems failures all over the station, overloading power conduits and severely damaging computer systems. Finally, many of the scientist and personnel onboard the outpost were killed in the fighting.

INNVA CEO Markku Samuli, in reference to the damage caused, said: "Devastating. Simply devastating. Years of research has been destroyed. Not only in our cloaking device program, but in other areas such as weapons, shields, computers, and even medical research. This disaster may have set the advancement of the Caldari State back decades."

The losses are estimated to be in the "multiple trillions" according to one analyst projecting the long-term effects of the action. Much of the financial burden of the loss will be transferred to Ishukone, who have yet to make any business moves to rectify the situation.

Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi reassured consumers that the loss would not have any long-term repercussion on the cost of goods manufactured and services provided by Ishukone. Insiders, however, expect that a string of layoffs will be forthcoming in the following weeks as a desperate measure to cut costs.

NOH has denounced Vaastun, declaring him a "rogue employee" attempting to "gain fame and fortune by breaking many of the rules of the Caldari State." Once confronted with the allegations, NOH fired Vaastun and declared they will not provide him with legal assistance. The Caldari Business Tribunal responded by saying that their special team of investigators, Aang Kuorsaw and Jin Maatsaka, are already on the case, attempting to discover how duplicit NOH actually was. Regardless of the findings, it is likely that NOH will be heavily fined and sanctioned for Vaastun’s actions.

The Navy has declined to press charges on O-SYN. Admiral Tovaan stated: "Chasing after a capsuleer corp is a misallocation of Navy resources during these troubled times." "Even if we did bring charges against them, it isn’t likely they will appear for their trial dates. Or let themselves get carried off once they were found guilty. The real criminals here are NOH and Haanti Vaastun, not their pawns," added the Admiral.

Following the news, Ishukone’s stock prices fell by 13%, NOH’s by 7%, and KK by 11%.