An investigation has been launched into claims that a private detective firm paid thousands of pounds to serving police officers to provide information about their pursuit of a convicted Nigerian fraudster.
MPs were told yesterday that in a case of "apparent corruption right at the heart of New Scotland Yard" the detective agency Risc Management Ltd was employed by James Ibori to hand £20,000 to two detective constables at the Met and a former detective inspector for information about his case. Ibori was sentenced to 13 years in prison last month after pleading guilty to laundering millions of pounds in Britain.
The allegations were made to the Home Affairs Select Committee by the solicitor representing Ibori's lawyer, who was also jailed. The committee is examining the need for state regulation of private investigators, who are currently able to operate without an official watchdog, register or a code of conduct.
The Met confirmed last night that the Directorate of Professional Standards is "investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency". This followed a referral by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in October 2011.