Friday 23 September 2011

Media group faces new hacking blows


New allegations about the phone-hacking scandal have hit News International, with claims of more victims and fresh legal rows. It was revealed tonight that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is suing News Group Newspapers, the publishing arm of the media giant. Papers were served at the High Court on Thursday "regarding the termination of the payment for his legal action". A spokesman for law firm DLA Piper, which represents Mr Coulson, said: "We can confirm that proceedings have been issued." News International declined to comment. It had been reported earlier this month that News International was paying DLA Piper for their legal advice to Mr Coulson following his arrest. Mr Coulson resigned from his position as Prime Minister David Cameron's spin chief in January and was later arrested on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking. He is on police bail. It has also emerged that the family of Jade Goody fear the late celebrity could have had her phone hacked and are reportedly set to contact Scotland Yard. The police force said it would not comment on individual cases. Publicist Max Clifford told The Guardian that Ms Goody's mother Jackiey Budden also believes she was targeted. He said: "She will be going to the police. She believes her phone was hacked by the News of the World, and Jade's. Jade told me, 'I'm convinced my phone is being hacked'." News International also declined to comment on the allegations. In addition, it has been alleged tonight that Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of News of the World was paid more than £25,000 by News International while working at Scotland Yard as a police consultant. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that Mr Wallis's contract with the police force included confidentiality, data protection and conflict of interest clauses, all of which would have prohibited him from selling on any information while employed by them.