NINE names have been removed from a controversial list of clients of rogue private detectives just days before it is expected to be published, Scotland Yard has said.
It comes after Trevor Pearce, director-general of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), refused to release the document despite an ultimatum from MPs last week.
His rejection paves the way for the home affairs select committee to publish the list – featuring law firms, insurance companies, financial services groups and celebrities – tomorrow, following threats from chairman Keith Vaz.
Music mogul Simon Cowell was yesterday named as a client of rogue detectives. However, a Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed nine names have been withdrawn from the file as they are subject to live investigations.
He added that five of the names relate to Operation Tuleta, the force’s investigation into computer hacking and other alleged privacy breaches, while four relate to other ongoing investigations.
The names of about 100 firms and individuals who allegedly used corrupt private investigators were handed from Soca to the committee earlier this year on condition the list was not published – sparking a row over transparency.
In his letter to Vaz, Pearce said: “I remain firmly of the view that publishing the list of clients would affect ongoing investigations and inquiries.”
Following a heated evidence session on Tuesday, Vaz told Pearce and Soca interim chairman Stephen Rimmer the committee would publish the list tomorrow if Soca did not do so first.
The so-called blue-chip hacking list was drawn up this year at the request of the committee and relates to Soca’s Operation Millipede, which led to the conviction of four private detectives for fraud last year.