The entire criminal justice system was infiltrated by organised crime gangs, according to a secret Scotland Yard report leaked to The Independent. Organised criminals were able to infiltrate Scotland Yard “at will” by bribing corrupt officers, according to the explosive report. The Metropolitan Police file dubbed Operation Tiberius, written in 2002, found Britain’s biggest force suffered “endemic corruption” at the time.
The Tiberius report, produced by a team led by the former Met assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, paints a shocking picture of security at the time inside Scotland Yard, which had responsibility for the UK’s counter-terror operations.
Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain’s most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.
The strategic intelligence scoping exercise – “ratified by the most senior management” at the Met – found murder investigations had been infiltrated and sensitive intelligence regarding other organised crime investigations had been leaked, allowing the offenders to escape justice. It uncovered jurors being bought off or threatened to return not-guilty verdicts; corrupt individuals working for HMRC, both in the UK and overseas; and “get out of jail free cards” being bought for £50,000.
Operation Tiberius concluded that syndicates such as the notorious Adams family and the gang led by David Hunt had bribed scores of former and then-serving detectives to access confidential databases; obtain live intelligence on criminal investigations; provide specialist knowledge of surveillance, technical deployment and undercover techniques to help evade prosecution; and even take part in criminal acts such as mass drug importation and money laundering.
Tiberius identified 80 corrupt individuals with links to the police, including 42 then-serving officers and 19 former detectives. Research conducted by The Independent suggests that only a tiny number of the officers named as corrupt have been convicted.
Working in secret, the authors of Tiberius, which was compiled from intelligence sources including covert police informants, live telephone intercepts, briefings from the security services and thousands of historical files, came to the desperate conclusion: “Organised crime is currently able to infiltrate the MPS at will … Quite how much more damage could be done is difficult to imagine.”
The report states that the infiltration made it almost impossible for police and prosecutors to successfully pursue the organised gangs that police suspected controlled much of the criminal underworld.
One senior investigating officer interviewed by the inquiry said at the time: “I feel that… I cannot carry out an ethical murder investigation without the fear of it being compromised.”
Alastair Morgan, whose brother Daniel was murdered in 1987 before he could expose links between Met officers and organised crime, told The Independent: “Despite all the protestations by police that things have changed since the ‘bad old days’, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. The police have no desire to tackle this. It would be too damaging to have it all aired in open court. The Met is a highly political organisation.”
A former senior officer, who recently retired from Scotland Yard, told The Independent: “Nothing has changed. The Met is still every bit as corrupt as it was back then.”
Asked to comment on the Tiberius report, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “The Metropolitan Police Service will not tolerate any behaviour by our officers and staff which could damage the trust placed in police by the public. We are determined to pursue corruption in all its forms and with all possible vigour. The dedicated Anti-Corruption Command, part of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, proactively investigates any allegations or intelligence relating to either corrupt police officers and staff [or] those that may seek to corrupt our officers’ staff. There is no complacency in the Met’s determination to succeed in this task.”
How Gangs Used the Freemasons to Corrupt Police
Secret networks of Freemasons have been used by organised crime gangs to corrupt the criminal justice system, according to the leaked report.
Operation Tiberius found underworld syndicates used their contacts in the controversial brotherhood to “recruit corrupted officers” inside Scotland Yard, and concluded it was one of “the most difficult aspects of organised crime corruption to proof against”.
Famous for its secret handshakes, Freemasonry has long been suspected of having members who work in the criminal justice system – notably the judiciary and the police. The political establishment and much of the media often dismiss such ideas as the work of conspiracy theorists. However, Operation Tiberius is the second secret police report revealed by The Independent in the last six months to highlight the possible issue.
Project Riverside, a 2008 report on the rogue private investigations industry by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, also claimed criminals attempt to corrupt police officers through Freemason members in a bid to further their interests.
Concerns over the influence of Freemasons on the criminal justice system in 1998 led former Home Secretary Jack Straw to order that all police officers and judges should declare membership of the organisation. However, ten of Britain’s 43 police forces refused to take part and the policy was dropped under threat of legal action.
In England and Wales, the Grand Master of the Freemasons is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The United Grand Lodge of England declined to comment last night.
Corruption Uncovered by Operation Tiberius
– Some relationships between Met officers and the criminal underworld were so close that in one case named police officers were identified as co-owning properties and even racehorses with a man suspected of being one of Britain’s most hardened gangsters.
– In one shocking case, a police statement taken from a highly sensitive witness was found in the safe of a nightclub controlled by the Adams family – described by Operation Tiberius as the “major crime family in north London”. The report stated the named witness was helping police try to solve the murder of Michael Olymbious, who the police believed had been killed after losing £1.5m of ecstasy pills owned by the syndicate.
– Tiberius also found a secret informant – codenamed “Lee Paul” – providing intelligence on the Adams family and the corrupt police in its pay to his handler at the Met, who appears to have been a man of integrity. However, Paul’s highly sensitive role was later uncovered by other officers and his activities became more widely known, causing uproar among the corrupt elements inside the Yard. But far from seeing this as evidence that the police were finally on to them, one rogue detective inspector was so unperturbed that he felt confident enough to brazenly threaten one of Paul’s handlers with reprisals.
– Tiberius also revealed the Met was concerned at the time with a national newspaper story on the ability of the Adams family to escape the law by penetrating the criminal justice system. In 1998, police appeared to have finally made a breakthrough when Tommy Adams was jailed for more than seven years for importing cannabis. However, the article cited by Tiberius stated that the “only reason the Adams family had allowed the prosecution to succeed and had not resorted to bribery or intimidation to thwart it, was because the other brothers wanted to teach Tommy a lesson for getting involved in crimes they had not authorised”. The article concluded: “Witnesses terrified into silence, dodgy jurors, bent lawyers, bent policemen and bent CPS clerks – all are part of the same cancer eating away at justice. A cure for the malady will not be easy to come by. Perhaps we should begin by acknowledging that the patient is sick.” Tiberius disclosed that the Met interviewed the journalist who wrote the story after the murder of Solly Nahome, a money launderer credited as the “brains” behind the Adams’ criminal empire. The reporter stated one of her journalistic sources on the family was a corrupt police officer but did not disclose who it was.
– One corrupt detective chief inspector who was identified by Tiberius sold his car to a known criminal, who was also a protected informant. The deal had been arranged by another corrupt officer – the informant’s handler – who was identified by Tiberius as “raping, blackmailing and encouraging the informant to facilitate the importation of heroin”. The report does not identify any action taken by the Met against the serving officer for his behaviour.
– Kenneth Beagle, thought to have been killed by members of a named organised crime syndicate over a “failed drug importation”. Tiberius names a former Met police officer whom it says “has always been considered to be one of the most corrupt officers serving in the MPS”. The report claims this former officer contacted his “good friend”, a detective sergeant, on the investigating team whom Tiberius says “had previously been the subject of at least three corruption inquiries” yet was allowed to work on a gangland murder investigation. For reasons that are unclear, the Met formally “authorised” the meeting between the pair which “legitimised the access into the murder inquiry”. Tiberius notes that “shortly after the meeting” the alleged organised crime boss “knew that the investigation team considered him a suspect”.
– A suspected drug dealer who fled to Spain was one of the prime suspects for the murder of Ricky Rayner in 2001 and asked a man whom police suspected of leading a drug dealing syndicate to check whether he was still wanted in the UK. Within days, this man was able to find out the status of his associate following telephone contact with a police officer. The report stated a Police National Computer check was obtained from Bethnal Green police station. The suspected gangster was able to give the suspect the “all clear”, apparently leading to his return to Britain. Tiberius also identified “regular contact” between another suspected corrupt detective and a senior member of the investigation into the murder. Again, the investigating officer had previously been identified as possibly corrupt – yet had never been prosecuted and was put in charge of a sensitive investigation.
– In one case identified by Tiberius, a leading criminal was acquitted of importing cannabis after he allegedly “bought” members of the jury hearing his case. A named police officer “was involved in some way or another”, according to the report.
– The trial of a man who was charged with drug trafficking offences collapsed after the disappearance of two crucial surveillance logs which, the report claims, were removed by two detective sergeants. Tiberius said each defendant “paid £15,000 into a fund to pay for the police officers to destroy the logs”. Analysis of phone records by Tiberius showed contact between one of the detective sergeants and a named former detective superintendent – who was in charge of the original anti-corruption investigation into the missing logs.
– On another occasion, when detectives raided the home of a “high-echelon criminal” believed by police to be involved in the “importation and distribution of controlled drugs” in east London, they found a five-page computerised printout that, it is claimed, indicated two serving Met police officers were in his pay. During the inquiry, an investigating officer was approached by a corrupt colleague who had worked out the target and told him not to pursue the suspected drug dealer as he was a “nice fella” and was expecting a big “security contract”. He stated: “If you don’t touch him he’ll help you.” One year later Essex Police began a separate inquiry into the same suspected drug dealer after receiving intelligence that he was importing drugs and distributing them in nightclubs. The investigation began examining the stabbing of a man at a club in February 2001 – an attack that was thought to be linked to the alleged drug dealer. According to the report, the same corrupt police officer then called the investigating Essex officer, who recalled: “He told me that bad people go to the club and asked if I knew who they were.” Tiberius noted the corrupt police officer also had an “ongoing sexual relationship with a female drug supplier” and was accessing police intelligence on her behalf.
– Another case of corruption beyond the Met, identified by Tiberius, included intelligence of alleged foul play within HMRC, which is supposed to lead the UK’s fight against white-collar crime such as money laundering. In 2000, according to Tiberius, a key police informant was secretly helping Scotland Yard with an investigation into the importation of £10m of heroin by a Turkish gang in north London. The deal went wrong, the informant was tortured in a cellar and “an attempt was made to sever his fingers with a pair of garden shears”. His associate was also attacked and had “three fingers chopped off with a machete”. The henchman Tiberius alleged had committed the assaults was the son of a named Met detective, who repeatedly tried to impede police inquiries into the case, according to Tiberius. He also had a corrupt relationship with a named detective sergeant then based in Marylebone police station who is suspected to have “organised cheque frauds”. Research conducted by The Independent suggests that none of the three men has ever been prosecuted. The Turkish drug dealer was later convicted and told police he was an HMRC informant. He said he knew of “corrupt contacts within the police” and had a Cyprus-based customs officer as a handler who “took money off him”.
– One of the few successful investigations reviewed by Tiberius was Operation Greyhound, a long-running inquiry that found that two detectives had helped a known criminal hunt a money-launderer over a £600,000 debt. Martin Morgan and Declan Costello were paid £50,000 for helping Robert Kean, a builder with a string of previous convictions, find his former business associate, Andrew Smith. During their trial in 2002, the Old Bailey heard that Kean and another criminal, Carl Wood, spoke of torturing Smith and putting his body in a car crusher if he could not pay his debt. At the heart of the scandal was the friendship of Morgan and Kean, a suspected drugs dealer. When Kean wanted to find Smith, he turned to Morgan, who used intelligence databases available to Met detectives to try to track down and entrap him. Kean said Morgan “was good at his job” and would be paid “50gs”– £50,000 – to act as his bounty hunter. Morgan, Kean and Wood pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully and injuriously imprison a man and to detain him against his will. Costello plead guilty to conspiracy to assault, causing actual bodily harm.