Soca chief Sir Ian Andrews quits over undeclared interest in private company

More than 100 companies and celebrities who used rogue investigators may finally be named following investigation by The Independent

The chairman of the Serious Organised Crime Agency resigned today after he failed to declare he owned a private company with his wife, who works for a global consultancy firm involved in security and investigations.

Sir Ian Andrews informed Theresa May, the Home Secretary, that he would leave his position early after weeks of damaging revelations over the crime-fighting body in The Independent.

Soca is facing urgent questions over why it failed for years to tackle more than 100 blue-chip clients of corrupt private investigators, including law firms, banks and celebrities.

Sir Ian was hauled before MPs to explain the agency’s inaction – but failed to declare that his wife Moira was the head lawyer at Good Governance Group (G3), a major global company involved in security and investigations.

Soca has handed over a list of the rogue investigators’ clients to the Home Affairs Select Committee, chaired by Keith Vaz, on condition that the names are not revealed. Mr Vaz has now suggested that the confidentiality will be reviewed: "Sir Ian was part of the decision making process that required that the Home Affairs Select Committee kept the lists that Soca sent us confidential. I shall be writing to his successor to ask if he or she will now review this decision."

In a letter to Mr Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sir Ian admitted that it was “inexcusable” that he also did not disclose he had recently set up a private business with Ms Andrews, a senior former Whitehall official.

“I have no explanation for this other than it was both a genuine and unintentional oversight but it is nonetheless inexcusable: and the responsibility is mine alone,” he wrote. “My original four-year appointment expires at the end of this week and was due to be extended until October to cover the remaining life of Soca. Given the above, and the fact that I have failed to maintain the standard of integrity to be expected of the head of a public body, let alone one charged with law enforcement, I believe that I had no alternative but to offer the Home Secretary my resignation as the Chairman of Soca.

“This is a huge disappointment to me personally.”

Mr Vaz said: “This is the right decision. Clearly as head of a law enforcement agency it is important that there is full transparency and it is essential that all members of the Soca board also check their own interests.”

Sir Ian was behind the decision to classify a list of blue-chip companies who hired corrupt private detectives that hack sensitive information – claiming the disclosure could damage their commercial interests and breach individuals’ human rights.

His wife Moira is employed as the head lawyer for Good Governance Group (G3), a global consultancy firm involved in security and investigations that controversially donated funds to a charity linked to a friend of former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, prompting his resignation.

She worked for 30 years as a senior law enforcement official in various government departments including the Foreign Office and the Crown Prosecution Service, before becoming “group general counsel” of G3. The investigations agency also hired as a consultant the former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who resigned in the wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

G3 has reportedly been investigating the listed coal mining company Bumi plc, which is at the centre of a bitter row between the banker Nat Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie family.

The agency was reportedly paid by the government of Bahrain to “support [its] stance before the international community” according to Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb who is said to be a “special adviser” for 3G. The company itself has not commented on any work it might do for Bahrain. Mr Yates has also secured a role as police adviser to the dictatorial regime which has been condemned by the international community for its brutal oppression of political opponents.

When the country’s Formula One Grand Prix took place against a backdrop of protests, Mr Yates appeared on news reports defending the stuttering reform process and describing the unrest as “criminal acts” against “unarmed police” who acted with “remarkable restraint”.

In his letter to Mr Vaz, Sir Ian said he did not believe that failing to declare Ms Andrews job was a conflict of interest, but he admitted his omission of his private role with his wife in management consultants Abis Partnership Ltd was “inexcusable”.

He said: “I have no explanation for this other than it was both a genuine and unintentional oversight but it is nonetheless inexcusable: and the responsibility is mine alone.

“My original four-year appointment expires at the end of this week and was due to be extended until October to cover the remaining life of Soca. Given the above, and the fact that I have failed to maintain the standard of integrity to be expected of the head of a public body, let alone one charged with law enforcement, I believe that I had no alternative but to offer the Home Secretary my resignation as the chairman of Soca.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Skilled Engineer - Electrical / Mechanical / Maintenance

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A multi-skilled engineer with a...

Recruitment Genius: Electronic Service Engineer - Television & HI-FI

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer - Award Winning Agency

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada