Olive Group

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Olive Security was founded in May of 2001 by Harry Legge-Burke[1]. Originally operating on a "small- scale, high-value" end of the private military industry, which was made possible by "drawing on the ethos of the UK's Special Forces."[2] They certainly recruit from the special forces, sticking predominately to ex-SAS personnel, who are attracted by the considerably larger wages[3], and also from the Coalition Provisional Authority[4].

They offer a thorough Risk Consultancy service to provide their clients with a systematic analysis of a potential region's strengths and weaknesses, and if this will play out with their financial aspirations [5]. In addition to providing a framwork of the risks involved, Olive is able to field the necessary personnel to implement the plan.

They offer protection for affluent and high profile individuals, sports teams, security for business complexes, yachts and estates, and the safe international travel of VIPs and high valued goods such as diamonds, gold and cash [6]. They have provided security for mobile news teams, USAID's Iraq Reconstruction Program, multinational energy companies from Africa to Asia and the English cricket team [7].

They also provide training for pre-existing forces, or soon to be forces, passing along the knowledge of policing, close protection, and hostile engagement[8]. Olive have recently acquired a 700 acre training facility in the US and are currently investing $8mill in upgrades.

Olive lends their quick success to strong relations in the government and military industry. Harry Legge-Burke is an ex-Welsh Guard[9], and a former aid to chief of defense staff Sir [Charles Guthrie]. He can claim Prince William as a skiing partner and his sister was a nanny to the royal children [10]

Olive is a member of International Peace Operations Association, the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.


Olive has won three contracts from Bechtel in Iraq. They, in fact, have been on the ground their since the invasion began in 2003, and were able to deploy 38 former SAS employees within two days of the invasion's completion in 2004 to Bechtel's operational centers. Some have suggested these contracts, one of which was non-competitive[11], might be due to close relations at the top.

Jonathan Allum, Olive's former director and co-owner, is also the son of Tony Allum, who is the chairman of the engineering company Halcrow and also the head of the UK government's Iraq Industry Working Group. It was in the latter position that Tony Allum went to Washington to meet with Bechtel leaders, where he suggested, among other UK companies, Halcrow and Olive as companies worth considering for subcontracted work, all stemming from Bechtel's $680 million contract with USAID. They were considered and contracts followed, though both Legge-Burke and Allum deny one had anything to do with the other[12].

They also had a contract with SSA Marine to provide security at the Port of Umm Qasr where they used forty veterans of the Brigade of Gurkhas[13].

Olive has also experienced losses in Iraq, losing two security employees in a convoy attack in Mosul while guarding General Electric engineers[14] [15] [16].


International Advisory Group

Accessed April 2012: [1]

SourceWatch Resources


Olive Group FZ-LLC
PO Box 502356
United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 (4) 391 2935
Fax: +971 (4) 391 2907
Email: info AT olivesecurity.com

Olive Security (UK) Ltd
PO Box 44780
London SW1X 7YH
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (20) 7201 5560
Fax: +44 (20) 7201 5561


  1. Olive Group International Advisory Group, organizational web page, accessed April 21, 2012.