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Two homes raided by investigators over leaking of Matt Hancock CCTV images

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Matt Hancock (R) with his former adviser Gina Coladangelo is seen in this photo in May 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Two homes in the south of England have been raided and searched by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in relation to the leaking of the CCTV video footage that led to Matt Hancock's downfall as health secretary.

In the raiding on Thursday, personal computer equipment and electronic devices at the addresses were seized as part of the investigation into suspected violations of the Data Protection Act, the data watchdog said.

The raid follows a complaint by EMCOR Group, the electronic services provider for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which submitted a breach report claiming that the information were taken from the camera systems without consent.

Director of investigations at the Information Commissioner’s Office, Steve Eckersley, said, “In these circumstances, the ICO aims to react swiftly and effectively to investigate where there is a risk that other people may have unlawfully obtained personal data”.

The images taken from the CCTV systems and leaked by The Sun newspaper showed the Conservative MP embracing and kissing his taxpayer-funded adviser Gina Coladangelo in his departmental office, in breach of coronavirus rules..

The public backlash over the scandal forced Hancock to resign from the cabinet and give his place as health secretary to former chancellor Sajid Javid.

Eckersley said “it’s vital that all people, which includes the employees of government departments and members of the public who interact with them, have trust and confidence in the protection of their personal data.”

“We have an ongoing investigation and will not be commenting further until it is concluded,” he added.

According to the officials at the DHSC, Hancock was not informed of the CCTV camera installed in his office since being appointed to the role in July 2019.

Following this, Hancock apologized for breaching social distancing rules, and left his family home along with Coladangelo.

Earlier this year, the High Court concluded that he had unlawfully awarded contracts to companies without tender and was accused of not publishing any details.

The investigation comes as the DHSC is being formally investigated by ICO over the use of private email addresses by ministers, including Hancock, to undertake Government business.

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