A Scotland Yard anti-corruption detective and three ex-officers with the Metropolitan Police have been arrested on suspicions of a bribery scam.
The 45-year-old detective constable is being questioned on suspicion of providing information about Nigerian fraudster James Ibori in return for cash.
Two private investigators, aged 53 and 58, and another man are being held in connection with providing the money after raids at the London offices of Risc Management Ltd, it has been revealed.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed the firm previously worked with the force.
Mike Schwarz, a partner at Bindmans LLP, told the Home Affairs Select Committee of possible cash payments made by investigation firm Risc to sources of theirs who were “presumably police officers or those close to the investigation”.
Records showed roughly half a dozen payments amounting to about £20,000 over an eight or nine-month period, Mr Schwarz claims.
Scotland Yard said the fourth man was arrested at a south London police station by appointment.
“He was arrested on suspicion of bribery of a police officer,” a spokesman said.
“Officers have previously attended a residential address outside of London and a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of receiving payments for information. He is a serving detective constable in the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service).”
The two private detectives were arrested at Risc’s business address as part of a “pre-planned operation that forms part of a long and complex investigation by the directorate of professional standards (DPS)”.
MPs were told yesterday that in a case of “apparent corruption right at the heart of New Scotland Yard” the detective agency Risc Management Ltd was employed by James Ibori to hand £20,000 to two detective constables at the Met and a former detective inspector for information about his case. Ibori was sentenced to 13 years in prison last month after pleading guilty to laundering millions of pounds in Britain.
The allegations were made to the Home Affairs Select Committee by the solicitor representing Ibori’s lawyer, who was also jailed. The committee is examining the need for state regulation of private investigators, who are currently able to operate without an official watchdog, register or a code of conduct.
The Met confirmed last night that the Directorate of Professional Standards is “investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency”. This followed a referral by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in October 2011.
Source: UKPA/ independent.co.uk