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Vaz surprised 'hack' list was not shared with Met

Keith Vaz has said Soca should act with "urgency" to reveal the names of the 102 firms and individuals on its list. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

House of Commons Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz has said it is "very surprising" that the list of firms linked to rogue private investigators was not shared with the Met given the investigations into alleged hacking.

Detectives are carrying out inquiries codenamed Weeting, Elvedon and Tuleta into allegations of phone-hacking, illicit payments to public officials and computer-hacking by journalists, some linked to private investigators.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) provided Mr Vaz's committee with the list - containing 102 firms and individuals, including blue chip companies, law firms and financial services groups - on condition that the names are not revealed.

But following the shock resignation of Soca chairman Sir Ian Andrews, Mr Vaz has said he will ask his successor to review the decision. He today said that Soca should act with "urgency", arguing that further delay would be unfair to those on the list who want the affair cleared up.

Met police did not see 'hack' list until last Tuesday

Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz said it was "very surprising" that the list was not shared with the Met. Credit: Simon Galloway/EMPICS Sport

The Metropolitan Police has said it did not see a controversial list of 102 firms and individuals linked to rogue private investigators until last week.

The list was compiled by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which is coming under pressure from MPs to publish the names of those found to have used investigators to obtain private information.

The Met confirmed it had access since 2011 to the information compiled by Soca that led to the jailing of four private investigators and was the basis for the agency's compiled list.

But a spokesman said police had not seen that list until last Tuesday, after it had been confidentially submitted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

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Vaz: We need to find out how this information was used

Chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, says questions need to be answered about why personal data was illegally obtained by more than 100 firms and what the information was used for.

Chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

He said: "What did they do when they got this information? Some of the information we received on the committee showed that they were getting the most personal details from people. Why would they want all this information? I think that's the next stage."

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The firms that hired rogue private investigators

The Times (£) newspaper is reporting the 102 companies found to have commissioned rogue private investigators include:

  • 22 law firms
  • Ten insurance businesses
  • Eight financial services companies
  • Four management consultancies
  • Four food services companies
  • A car rental business
  • An accountancy business
  • Clients from the chemical and construction industries
  • Nine personal clients
  • Two celebrities
  • 16 other private detectives

Vaz asks Met Police if interested in 'hacking list' firms

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz has written to the Met Police's Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick to ask if the force has any further interest in the companies on a list of names linked to rogue private investigators.

He has asked Ms Dick, as well as the Information Commissioner's Office, to confirm when the public will be able to see those names, whose identities are currently being protect at the behest of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca.)

Stock photograph of a mobile phone and computer keyboard
Chairman Keith Vaz said the Home Affairs Select Committee 'remains concerned' Credit: Simon Galloway/EMPICS Sport

The list, which was created by Soca, was passed to the Home Affairs Select Committee on strict confidentiality grounds - prompting Mr Vaz to demand an explanation as to why it should be kept secret.

It breaks down firms that featured in evidence in prosecutions of Operation Millipede, the Soca investigation that led to the conviction of private detectives for fraud, as well as firms that were relevant to the inquiry but not used in evidence.

Committee 'remains concerned' about hacking claims

Chairman Keith Vaz said the Home Affairs Select Committee "remains concerned" after it was handed a list of 102 names of companies and individuals linked to rogue private investigators.

He said:

The Committee remains concerned that it holds a list that Soca [Serious Organised Crime Agency] has classified as secret, even though it is evidence given as part of our inquiry.

This is an important step forward in establishing the facts.

Mr Vaz also confirmed there are five organisations or individuals on the list who are being investigated as part of Operation Tuleta, Scotland Yard's investigation into allegations of computer hacking.

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