Oil firms named on rogue investigators list

Keith Vaz MP
Keith Vaz MP

Two oil companies are named on a secret list of firms linked to rogue private investigators, it emerged yesterday.

The businesses are among 102 passed to a committee of MPs by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca).

The home affairs select committee, chaired by Keith Vaz MP, has decided to reveal the categories of organisations on the list, but continues to protect their identities at the behest of Soca.

Some 22 legal firms and 10 insurance companies also feature, along with eight in financial services and two celebrities.

Yesterday Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the UK Government would make it illegal to operate as an unlicensed private detective in England and Wales.

Private investigators have been found to have accessed information through methods including phone and computer hacking, blagging – faking an identity to draw information from an official spokesman – and phone interceptions.

Soca’s list was passed to the Commons 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.

Mr Vaz said he wanted to reveal the names of the organisations on the list and could do so using parliamentary privilege, but had been told the Information Commissioner and Metropolitan Police may be interested in investigating the companies involved.

22 legal firms and 10 insurance companies also feature