Posted by Bob Burton on July 09, 2009

Nick Davies reports that a UK subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation "has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories." "The payments," he reports, "secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous 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." One police officer told Davies that "thousands" of mobile phones were hacked into. In January 2007, a News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, was jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff. At the time, members of parliament were reassured by executives from News International, the main UK subsidiary of News Corporation, that the Goodman case was a one-off instance. Murdoch told Bloomberg that he had no knowledge of the payments. "If that had happened I would know about it," he said. Police have announced that they will investigate the matter.