Police to investigate News of the World phone-hacking claims

By: David Batty
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 July 2009 11.55 BST
Article history

The Metropolitan police is to examine allegations that journalists from theNews of the World and other newspapers repeatedly used criminal methods to get stories through mobile phone hacking.

The assistant commissioner, John Yates, is to “establish the facts” about the claims and will report back later today, the police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, said today.

The move came after the Guardian revealed Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers had paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of the journalists’ activities.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence that Murdoch journalists used private investigators to illegally hack into the mobile phone messages of public figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

The suppressed legal cases are linked to the jailing in January 2007 of a News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff, an offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. At the time, News International said it knew of no other journalist who was involved in hacking phones and that Goodman had acted without their knowledge.

Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service now face serious questions over their handling of the inquiry into phone hacking and the News of the World, which led to the jailing of Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who had worked for News Group.
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