News Corp Spied On Victims’ Lawyers Digging For Dirt
News of the World’s hacking scandal keeps going. Apparently News Corp not only spied on various victims, but it went ahead and spied on the lawyers representing victims.
News International has confirmed that it had sanctioned investigations into two of the lawyers who had brought legal claims against it — and said the matter was “deeply inappropriate” and was “not condoned by any current executive.”
However, the London-based unit of News Corp. also claimed that surveillance “is not illegal.”
The comment came after Derek Webb, a policeman turned private investigator, has told the BBC that he had been hired by News International executives to carry out covert surveillance of phone-hacking lawyers Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris over a period of 18 months. The surveillance was carried out while James Murdoch was in charge of the newspaper division.
Webb has spoken exclusively to BBC Newsnight reporter Richard Watson in an interview that will not air until late Monday night. But the BBC has released some information about Webb’s claims in advance of transmission.
Webb is understood to have decided to speak out because he believes he is owed money and bonus payments by News International.
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The former policeman has told the BBC he was hired in 2010 to gather evidence on Lewis, who acted for the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. He investigated the lawyer, his former wife and her daughter, following them and filming their movements.