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News Of The World Journalists Accused In Phone Tapping Probe

by | 8th, July 2009

phone-tappingNEWS Group, the media giant owned by Rupert Murdoch, is reported to have stumped up £1m in court costs after its journalists at the News of The World were accused of involvement in phone tapping to get stories, writes the Guardian.

The Guardian claims News Group paid £700,000 in damages and costs to Gordon Taylor, the chief of the Professional Footballers Union.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

A spokesman for News International says in ambiguous language:

“This particular case means nothing to anyone here, and I’ve talked to all the people who would be involved.”

The Guardian says that that Taylor has signed a gagging clause. He offers no comment.

The payment is believed to have included more than £400,000 in damages, dwarfing the largest previous payment for breach of privacy in the UK, the £60,000 paid by the News of the World for filming Max Mosley naked with prostitutes. News Group then persuaded the court to seal the file on Taylor’s case to prevent all public access, even though it contained prima facie evidence of criminal activity.

murdochThe Guardian goes on to say that others allegedly targeted were model Elle McPherson, politician John Prescott and – get this – publicist Max Clifford. (If you want to know what Prescott orders from the Chienese  stay tuned.)

Says Andy Coulson, who edited the News of the World editor at the time of the alleged incidence:

“I have made it clear to the Guardian that I knew nothing about the Taylor settlement.”

Mr Coulson now works as the Conservative Party communications director, so expect Labour Party to have field day with this, especially in light of the Damian McBride debacle.

Anorak readers will recall that Two years ago, the News of the World’s royal spy Clive Goodman was up for the Beak on a charge of hacking into the phone messages of royal staff. He pleased guilty and was jailed.

At the time, News International said it knew of no other journalist who was involved in hacking phones and that Goodman had been acting without their knowledge.

However, one senior source at the Metropolitan police told the Guardian that during the Goodman inquiry, officers had found evidence of News Group staff using private investigators who hacked into “thousands” of mobile phones. Another source with direct knowledge of the police findings put the figure at “two or three thousand” mobiles.

What you won’t read in the Sun tomorrow…

Cue the Rebekah Wade video…



Posted: 8th, July 2009 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink