UK firms face investigation over rogue detectives

-Oxford- | E+ | Getty Images

Nineteen blue-chip British companies who hired corrupt private investigators will be investigated for criminal and civil offences, a U.K. watchdog said on Friday.

Several private individuals, law firms, financial organisations and insurance companies are reported to be among those on a secret list who will be investigated to see whether they hired the rogue detectives and allowed them to unlawfully obtain personal information on up to 125 victims.

(Read more: Rogue detectives' client list to be published on Monday)

The four corrupt private eyes involved in the investigations pleaded guilty to fraud in 2012 and were given prison sentences.

Christopher Graham, who leads the Information Commissioner's Office, a data protection watchdog, will appear in front of a government committee next Tuesday to provide further details on the probe.

The inquiry comes amid a row between the committee and the U.K.'s Serious Organised Crime Agency as to whether the names of over 100 companies and individuals who hired the rogue detectives should be made public.

(Read more: Ex-Murdoch Editor Brooks Denies Hacking Charges)

The Home Affairs Committee is still debating whether to publish the names itself, after the police unit failed to meet a seven-day deadline to do so, saying it would be detrimental to ongoing investigations.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow CNBC on Twitter: @CNBCWorld

Contact Crime


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

American Greed

  • Hail to the thief

    A former Army intelligence officer known as "Mr. X" stole millions through a fake veteran's charity and eluded authorities by using an array of false identities. No one figured out who he really was or where he came from until he made one misstep ...

  • Charity begins at home

    When reporter Jeff Testerman visits the home of retired navy commander Bobby Thompson, he finds quarters unfit for an officer.

  • Missing mystery man

    Investigators follow a trail of stolen identities with plenty of twists and turns in the case of fugitive Bobby Thompson, a self-proclaimed retired navy lieutenant commander with a background in intelligence. His fingerprints are nowhere to be found in the United States, Canada or through Interpol.