New facts uncovered in UK hacking probe
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 05, 2011, 00:06
London: Three separate investigations by British Scotland Yard into the phone-hacking controversy have revealed new facts as Rupert Murdoch's News International on Friday launched a compensation plan for victims of phone-hacking at the defunct News of the World.

Scotland Yard said the number of identified phone-hacking victims so far was 5,795, including many celebrities, with the number likely to increase further as investigations continue under Operation Weeting.

Under Operation Elvedon, which is investigating alleged payments of nearly 130,000 pounds over several years from the News of the World to police officers for information, one 48-year-old unnamed journalist employed with a News International title was arrested today.

The media group, meanwhile, said it had launched the compensation scheme as "a speedy, cost effective alternative to litigation."

It urged anyone contacted by the police or who believed they were a victim to consider applying for compensation under the scheme.

The third Scotland Yard investigation, Operation Tuleta, is investigating hacking into computers for information.

The phone-hacking controversy seriously dented Murdoch's media empire in Britain earlier this year, including leading to his company's withdrawal of the BSkyB takeover bid.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said it is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked "but we can confirm that as of today's date, 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795."

"This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis," the spokesman said.

The Guardian daily's original story in 2009 suggested that between 2,000 and 3,000 individuals may have been victims of phone hacking, but new figures lend credence to claims by victims and their solicitors that the practice was on an "industrial scale" at the tabloid.

Announcing the arrest, Scotland Yard said he was was "arrested at outside London on suspicion of corruption allegations in contravention of section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and is being brought to a south-west London police station."

So far 16 people have been arrested and bailed on allegations of phone hacking.

Glenn Mulcaire, who hacked the phone at the behest of News of the World, kept meticulous records.

He was jailed in 2007 and is currently fighting over 40 legal cases brought by celebrities such as Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan.


First Published: Friday, November 04, 2011, 19:10

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