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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago