Police officer 'sold royal family contact details'

 

News of the World 'paid royal police officer' for details

I have learned that News of the World e-mails uncovered by News International in 2007 contained evidence that the Sunday newspaper was paying a Royal Protection Officer for the contact details of senior members of the royal family, their friends and their relations.

According to a source, the e-mails include requests by a reporter for sums of about £1,000 to pay police officers in the royal protection branch for the information. The phone details could have been used to hack phones of the royal family.

"There was clear evidence from the e-mails that the security of the royal family was being put at risk," the source said. "I was profoundly shocked when I saw them."

The source added that the e-mails were unambiguous signs of criminal activity at the News of the World.

"It is quite astonishing that these emails were not handed to the police for investigation when they were first found in 2007", he said.

The e-mails were not passed to the Metropolitan police until 20 June this year, when they were re-obtained - from the offices of the solicitors Harbottle and Lewis - by a recently appointed new team of News International executives.

James Murdoch, News International's chairman, has said he was not in the picture about the full extent of wrongdoing at the News of the World until recently.

You can read more about these e-mails in my blog of yesterday. And I will publish some additional details in a bit.

Update, 13:55: I can now disclose more detail about the extraordinary e-mails that appear to show royal protection officers were selling confidential information to the News of the World.

In one of the dynamite e-mails, Clive Goodman - the paper's disgraced former royal editor - was requesting cash from the newspaper's editor, Andy Coulson, to buy a confidential directory of the Royal Family's landline telephone numbers, and all the phone numbers - including mobiles - of the household staff.

The relevant e-mail implies that a police officer in royal protection had stolen the directory, which is known as the Green Book, and wanted £1000 for it.

The Green Book contains, for example, the home numbers of Princess Anne, Prince Edward and so on. It provides more complete contact details of officials working for all the Royal Family.

The directory is stamped "secure" on the cover. When members of the royal household receive a copy they have to sign for it. And it is supposed to be locked away when not in use.

The implication of the e-mails is that the News of the World had bought the Green Book on at least one previous occasion.

The e-mails also suggest that the News of the World had police contacts in a number of royal palaces, and had bought information from several of them.

 
Robert Peston, economics editor Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

Half a cheer for depression's end

On Friday we will have either the most symbolically important or the most pointless economic event of recent times, when the depression in Britain caused by the banking crisis is finally declared officially over.

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 138.

    Meanwhile the share price of the company the Murdoch's want more of has plummeted. I wonder if a shell holding company is buying shares for them on the quiet whilst all the clamour is providing a distraction.
    Cynical old me ;-)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 137.

    Now "The Sunday Times" has been accused of "blagging" its way into Gordon Brown's Building Society accounts using a "professional actor".

    Its also claimed he had his phone hacked by the same paper.

    It all leads back to Rupert Murdoch at the top of the tree.





  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 136.

    Why is Robert Peston and the BBC continuing to put out these stories when the police keep saying that they are undermining their investigation and that NI have agreed to keep them confidential? Isn't this the time for responsible journalism? Is the source Will Lewis and what is the nature of the relationship between Robert Peston and Will Lewis?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 135.


    News international pays very little tax here – if any
    Time to put them under very close scrutiny .... and presure
    I shall not buy a single newspaper of theirs until I’m satisfied that ALL those responsible
    Have been brought to justice, write to Ofcom , No way are they fit and proper
    To run SKY . Rebekah and James state they did not know what was going on, either liars or fools!!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 134.

    An uncomfortable truth as to why there is no reaction currently from News Corp or NI execs is that they know they are just part of an issue involving members of the 'establishment' who are as rotten as they are. Why should they be the fall guys (and girls) for a story that racks over the dirt of British Society. Why get in the way of a good news story when you are making money from it.....

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 133.

    Robert, There were questions earlier about why you are such a good conduit for info from NI. Are you being used by NI to 'spread the load' to as many others as possible in the hope that some of the muck will stick elsewhere or is this from a 'police source'?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 132.

    One aspect of the whole Murdoch affair is that the people who control this organisation are not British, or even EU, citizens and probably not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes. Surely we should take a leaf from US law - Murdoch had to become a US citizen and live in New York in order to buy the New York Times and Fox media corporation. Perhaps we should adopt the same law ourselves in future.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 131.

    4. Dean
    "Who is drip dripping these stories out?"
    It seems the establishment is in fear - whatever is going on 'behind' closed doors - the public can conclude that the institutions 'engaged' in corruption have also been hacked by 'organisation unknown' - The media + establishment cannot 'get away with' it + are being forced to confront this issue by the Ghosts!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 130.

    HarryK (#59); Part 2 of 2:

    Yet again an EU/USA regulator rather than the UK would be governing such cases, judging guilt, determing sanctions, and pocketing any huge fines that might occur. The usual scale of such fines would probably make a small but significant difference to the finances of the government and ultimately to the UK economy.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 129.

    HarryK (#59); Part 1 of 2:

    That might be lucky for News Corporation but not for the UK. It would mean that they would have successfully avoided the Bribery Act 2010, which is coincidentally considered much tougher than the equivilant EU/USA legislation.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 128.

    Looks as if the Boys in Blue may be feeling your collar for your "source" in the Met Robert

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 127.

    I welcome Robert Peston's reporting on the ongoing BOW scandal.
    However, why did he go to a garden party recently attended by...yes, Rebekah Broks and David Murdoch! It seems in this ever developing story that more and more light is being thrown on who knows who among the wealthy, powerful and influential.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 126.

    4. Dean
    "Who is drip dripping these stories out?"

    Who are the Ghosts of John Galt?

    That is a more appropriate question!

    The Ghosts are coming folks!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 125.

    £1000 ....is that all!!!! I find this very hard to believe.Scotland Yard are being accused of worse corruption than the toxic rag responsible for all this heartache.Me thinks some shadowy counter misinformation is afoot here.It's all very well saying the old Bill are getting corrupt payments but the paltry sum being proferred for this leads an old lag like me to doubt it very much.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 124.

    What suprises me in this whole affair is that the Police and the Government did not seal the emil servers at NI/NOW as soon as the affair broke. This certainly would have happened in the US which has a more robust approach to poor ethical behaviour. Sealing the servers would have ensured that evidence could not be delated/lost or mislaid.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 123.

    The corruption in the MetPolice needs to be sorted out. The last time was when Mark disbanded corrupt branches within the Force.
    The culture needs to be tackled at Hendon Police College and trainees made aware of what the law is and what is corrupt practice.
    Bent coppers are just told off for 'unprofessional behaviour'.
    The record of Coppers working for NewsCorp need to be looked into.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 122.

    98 She has not been arrested because that is not what she said the enquiry unfortunately. All she has effectively admitted is being aware that payments had been made but failed to be asked whether she had or knew who had authorised them.
    It is clearly an opportunity the select committee members will be regretting not making use of just now.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 121.

    Re the comment about BSkyB share prices: I might be wrong but bearing in mind that NI's share prices have also plummeted, there could be a bigger danger of their available capital becoming insufficient to finance the merger, but also, if the merger goes ahead, the BSkyB share prices will plummet still further. Admittedly, might recover once everybody's forgotten, but that's a gamble.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 120.

    @1 KZwert - you are absolutely correct - but as this is an international organisation, forcing a breakup up would be virtually impossible. Surely if we want to see an end to this stranglehold on UK media, the way to achieve it is to stop buying their products. Everyone cancel your Sky subscription and never buy any Murdoch newspaper, and the problem will mysteriously vanish. EMail and Tweet NOW

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 119.

    Where is Data Protection in all of this? The media's well known sharp practices and bungs aside, the police selling my case data to the tabloids is unacceptable - wildly unacceptable.

    If I received bungs for passing on my employer's data I'd have a visit from the police quick time and my P45 soon after.

    So many laws broken, but the police have broken their contract of Trust. Terrible times

 

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