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Nine names removed from Soca list
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 earlier this week.
His rejection paves the way for the Home Affairs Select Committee to publish the names on the list - featuring law firms, insurance companies, financial services groups and celebrities - on Monday, following threats from chairman Keith Vaz. However a Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that nine names have been withdrawn from the file as they are subject to live investigations.
"In all, nine names have been removed from the Soca Operation Millipede list at the request of the Metropolitan Police Service as they are subject to live and an ongoing investigations," he said.
He added that five of the names relate to Operation Tuleta, the force's probe into computer hacking and other alleged privacy breaches, while four relate to other ongoing investigations.
The names of around 100 firms and individuals who allegedly used corrupt private investigators was handed from Soca to the Committee earlier this year on condition it was not published - sparking a row over transparency.
In his letter to Mr Vaz, Mr 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, Mr Vaz told Mr Pearce and Stephen Rimmer, Soca's interim chairman, the Committee would publish the list on Monday if Soca did not do so first.
The so-called ''blue-chip hacking'' list was drawn up earlier 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.
In the letter, Mr Pearce said Soca provided the client list to the Committee in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines on the handling of sensitive information in confidence to select committees.