Chiefs of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) were told by politician Keith Vaz to publish a list of 102 firms and private individuals who have used corrupt private investigators. Mr Vaz said he will make the list public if they fail to issue it.
Keith Vaz gave his surprising ultimatum this week, after taking legal advice. He stated that the list of 102 "blue chip hackers" had been given to him in confidence earlier in the year, but he feels it is in the public interest to publish it.
It is known that 22 law firms feature on the list, alongside financial services groups, insurance companies, two celebrities and others. Although SOCA have had this information since 2009 none of the alleged offences have been followed up.
The Daily Mail name some of the offending companies as Deloitte accountants, bankers Chase Manhattan and Credit Suisse, law firms Clyde and Co and Herbert Smith and insurers Aon. The paper draws comparisons with the recent News of the World phone hacking scandal that led to the newspaper's demise, saying: "Most of those who were obsessed with the News of the World’s misdemeanours have so far shown little interest in the wrong-doing allegedly carried out in the name of these companies."
The general lethargy that seems to have been displayed to date concerning the list and allegations of wrongdoing by corporate bodies does seem very much at odds with the furore roused by the News of the World phone hacking story and the ongoing speculation fuelled by the Leveson enquiry.
Mark Lewis, the lawyer who represented Milly Dowler’s family, said: "Consistency demands the same rules apply to all, whether you run a newspaper, a pharmaceutical company or a law firm."
Whether this consistency will be applied with rigour remains to be seen.