UK

Met Police 'corruption' claims lead to calls for investigation

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Media captionThe BBC's Mark Easton reports

Allegations that Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service tried to cover up evidence of corruption among some officers have led to calls for an independent investigation.

During a long-running trial in London, which has now been abandoned, a court was told there was "compelling evidence" officers had received bribes.

The claims were made by ex-solicitor Bhadresh Gohil's legal team.

Scotland Yard said its investigation into the claims found no misconduct.

During the trial, Mr Gohil had been accused of perverting the course of justice by faking documents to make it look as though Scotland Yard detectives were taking bribes.

But his defence lawyers said that, far from this, and even though Mr Gohil had separately pleaded guilty to money-laundering, he was trying to expose corruption within the Metropolitan Police.

Speaking to the BBC after the trial was abandoned, Mr Gohil said he felt vindicated.

"I was a whistle-blower and instead of investigating what I had uncovered and put forward, I was persecuted," he said.

'Serious questions'

The case goes back more than four years, when Mr Gohil anonymously sent documents to public officials and journalists. Among the papers were what purported to be invoices detailing payments to confidential sources - bribes for Metropolitan Police officers, it was claimed.

In court, defence lawyers alleged there was "clear and compelling evidence" of police accepting bribes in return for "unlawfully providing sensitive information" to private detectives.

It was also alleged that Scotland Yard's own investigation into the affair was "deliberately designed to find no evidence of corruption" and that the prosecution service "deliberately withheld evidence" which undermined their case, "misleading the Court of Appeal" in the process. These allegations were disputed.

Defence solicitor Simon Natas has called for an independent investigation.

"We consider that there are very serious questions for both the director of public prosecutions and the chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to answer about all aspects of this affair," he said.

Scotland Yard has said the allegations of corruption were investigated but no misconduct was identified. The CPS has confirmed only that the case against Mr Gohil has been dropped.

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