Ibori lands British police officers in trouble for accepting his 20,000 pounds bribeDelta, National Politics, State News, Top Stories Thursday, May 24th, 2012
The arrested men were accused of receiving thousands of dollars in payments for providing information to Ibori’s lawyers.
Ibori was sentenced on April 17 by Southwark Crown Court in London for embezzling almost £50m to fund a lavish lifestyle for his family in London and back home in Nigeria.
Elombah.com reports that three former Scotland Yard police officers and one serving detective were among those arrested as part of an investigation into allegations that members of the force’s anti-corruption unit were paid thousands of pounds in bribes.
The Metropolitan police said on Wednesday the 45- year-old male detective was arrested on suspicion of receiving payments for information at a residential address outside of London.
Two of the former police officers, men aged 53 and 58, were also arrested during raids at a business address in central London. The two were arrested on suspicion of bribery of a police officer and remained in custody.
One of the two men held at the agency’s Conduit Street offices, according to London Evening Standard, is understood to be its chief executive Keith Hunter, a former Scotland Yard detective.
The identities of the two other men are not known.
The arrests are part of a six-month operation launched after the Met and other bodies received documents from an anonymous source last year.
The documents suggested that its officers leaked to sensitive information to a firm linked to Ibori’s lawyers.
Evening Standard reports that the documents seen by it suggested that Ibori hired the agency, RISC management to obtain information on a Met investigation into his business affairs.
The papers allege that RISC Management then paid Met officers £20,000 for inside information that helped Ibori’s defence lawyers. Detectives are also investigating the possibility that the bribery allegations were a sophisticated attempt by Ibori and his associates to pervert the course of justice.
The claims are a new blow to the Yard, already investigating officers for allegedly receiving illegal payments from the Murdoch media empire for private information on the royal family.
A Yard spokesman reportedly said on Wednesday that, “We are investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency.
“This was a pre-planned operation that forms part of a long and complex investigation.” All three men were being interviewed at a London police station on Monday.
The inquiry into the bribery scandal was launched after leaked invoices apparently showed private investigators billed Ibori for information from police.
One £5,000 payment was allegedly made to a source for information “on forthcoming strategy to be deployed by police”.
The ex-governor hired City law firm Speechly Bircham to defend him from the police inquiries. In turn, it hired the private detective agency RISC.
Lawyer Mike Schwarz, who is representing London-based solicitor Bhadresh Gohil — jailed with Ibori — used parliamentary privilege to name three detectives he described as potential “culprits”.
He told the home affairs committee they were Det Insp Gary Walters and detective constables named John MacDonald and “Clark”.
All three officers declined a chance to respond to the allegations when contacted by The Guardian (of London) last week. RISC Management indicated Walters would deny “any and all allegations”.
RISC Management denied all allegations. It confirmed it was hired by Ibori’s lawyers but denied corrupt payments, saying it “has never paid a serving police officer for information and would never approve such payments”.
Its chief executive Keith Hunter accused Mr Schwarz of “grandstanding” in front of the Commons committee, instead of taking the “correct course of reporting the matter to the police”. Speechly Bircham denied any knowledge of wrongdoing.
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