Police investigate informer's actions

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The Independent Online
A POLICE investigation has begun into allegations that detectives working for the Serious Fraud Office condoned 'criminal' activity by an informer.

The man is said to have told business associates that he was working undercover on SFO investigations into the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International and the fugitive tycoon, Asil Nadir. The police have declined to say whether he was working on these inquiries.

The Independent has learnt that City of London Police are investigating the relationship between Clifford John Titterington, a Leicester businessman and police informer, and a number of its officers on attachment to the SFO.

A spokesman said that an inquiry was opened following allegations that detectives had 'countenanced criminal activities' by Mr Titterington while he was allegedly working for the police. It is understood that a report will be submitted to the Police Complaints Authority later this year. Mr Titterington is charged, separately, with obtaining money by deception and forgery. He is on bail awaiting trial.

News of this investigation comes only weeks after two informers working for police officers on attachment to the Serious Fraud Office claimed that they had been asked to pervert the course of justice by manufacturing evidence in a bid to 'frame' Mr Nadir, former chairman of Polly Peck International. Scotland Yard has denied that any police officers conspired to pervert the course of justice.

The two told the Independent that they had invented an allegation that Nadir, who faces charges of theft and false accounting involving more than pounds 30m, conspired to bribe the judge of the Polly Peck trial. One of the informers had worked for the police on previous occasions and had a lengthy criminal record, with a number of convictions for deception. The allegations inspired a police investigation which lasted at least a year.

The Crown Prosecution Service said last week that there was no credible evidence to support the allegations against Nadir.

There is no known connection between this case and the events concerning Mr Titterington.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, was informed of the allegations about Mr Titterington by Helen Jackson, Labour MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, after a constituent contacted her last July. She was later contacted by Sir Derek Spencer QC, the Solicitor General, on behalf of Sir Nicholas Lyell QC, Attorney General, who has responsibility for the SFO. Sir Derek confirmed that Mr Titterington, who has also used the alias Jarvis, has 'provided information to officers of the City of London Police'. An internal investigation was then started.