The hacking scandal: the facts they wish you didn’t know
This article is over 10 years, 6 months old
The ruling class is in disarray. Its web of corruption, bribery and lies are exposed—and it just keeps getting worse. Simon Basketter looks at the key things we’ve learnt this week
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Tuesday 19 July 2011
Download documents showing News International hospitality accepted by police officers John Yates and Andy Hayman [180kb PDF]
Download documents showing David Cameron’s meetings with press figures [160kb PDF]
- David Cameron has had more than 26 meetings with senior figures from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire since becoming prime minister. (For a full list of Cameron’s dinners with the media and his guests at Chequers, his private residence, go to wwww.socialistworker.co.uk)
- Andy Coulson was Cameron’s guest at Chequers in March—two months after disgraced Coulson resigned over phone hacking allegations.
Rebekah Brooks was invited to Chequers twice last year, and James Murdoch once.
- Brooks urged Cameron to scrap plans to give the job of Director of Communications to a senior BBC journalist.
Cameron was told it should go to someone who was “acceptable” to News International. Coulson got the job.
- The Metropolitan Police employed Neil Wallis, former News of the World executive editor, during the phone hacking inquiry.
He “earned” £1,000 a day to advise Sir Paul Stephenson, ex-commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and senior officer John Yates from October 2009 to September 2010.
- Stephenson spent five weeks recuperating from an operation at a luxurious health spa in Hertfordshire in January, at the expense of Outside Organisation—a PR firm managed by Neil Wallis. Wallis was arrested last week.
- News International offered Stephenson hospitality on 15 occasions between April 2007 and March 2010—he accepted 14 times. In one instance, he met senior executives three times in one week.
- Stephenson and the Metropolitan Police’s director of public affairs, Dick Fedorico, twice tried to convince the Guardian newspaper that Nick Davies’s stories about phone hacking were “over-egged and incorrect”.
At meetings in December 2009 and February 2010, the Met’s representatives failed to mention that they were employing Wallis.
- John Yates was in charge of carrying out “due diligence” on Wallis before the Met hired him to give PR advice.
“Wolfman” Wallis was reporting back to News International while he was working for the police on the hacking case.
- Andy Hayman, chief of the Met’s counter-terrorism unit who ran the
investigation, attended four dinners, lunches and receptions with News of the World editors. This includes a dinner on April 25 2006, while his officers were gathering evidence in the case.
Hayman left the Met in December 2007 and was soon hired to write a column for the Times, a News International paper.
- Hayman had his phone hacked by News International. But he was happy to bug prison visits between Babar Ahmad, who was unjustly accused of acts of terrorism, and his local MP Sadiq Khan.
- Executives and others at News International enjoy close relationships with Scotland Yard’s top officials.
Since the hacking scandal began in 2006, Yates and others regularly dined with editors from News International papers.
Stephenson dined with company executives and editors 18 times during the investigation—including on eight occasions with Wallis while he was still working at the News of the World.
- The MP who questioned Brooks and James Murdoch this week when they appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport committee has close links with News Corporation.
John Whittingdale, the committee’s Tory chair, is an old friend of Les Hinton, who resigned from News Corp on Friday night, and has dined with Brooks.
- Brooks is to receive a £3.5 million severance package after resigning from News International.
Two of the company’s senior lawyers, Tom Crone and Jon Chapman, will receive an estimated £1.5 million each. Colin Myler, the final editor of the News of the World, is understood to be in line for
- Rebekah Brooks’s PR firm, Bell Pottinger, has previously represented the Bahraini government, Trafigura—the oil company which was fined $1 million for dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast—and Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian dictator.
- Yates is accused of securing Neil Wallis’ daughter a job at the Met.
Yates, Hayman and Fedorico are all being investigated by the IPCC over their links with Wallis.
- Brooks reduced Gordon Brown to tears when she called to say that the Sun was to run a front page of private details of his baby son’s medical condition.
He omitted to say that afterwards he and his wife attended Brooks’ wedding, organised her birthday party and had her over to Chequers.
- Piers Morgan, now a CNN broadcaster but formerly editor of the News of the World and the Daily Mirror, was aware of phone hacking during his time in charge of the Mirror.
According to Morgan’s autobiography, “Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages.”
- In the US, outcry at possible hacking of 9/11 victims’ phones has led the FBI to launch an investigation.
- News Corp donated $1 million to the US bosses’ organisation, the Chamber of Commerce, last summer. Shortly afterwards, the chamber launched a high-profile campaign to alter the foreign corrupt practices act—the same law that could potentially be brought to bear on News Corp now.
The who’s who of the phone hacking scandal
David Cameron: prime minister of Britain.
Rupert Murdoch: overlord of News International and News Corp.
Andy Coulson: editor of News of the World during phone hacking (2003-2007). Director of communications for David Cameron (2007-January 2011).
Rebekah Brooks: worked for Murdoch since 1997. News of the World editor (2000-2003). Sun editor (2003-2009). News International chief executive until July 2011, when she resigned because of the phone hacking scandal.
Neil Wallis: worked for News International from 1986, rising to become deputy editor of the Sun (1993-2003), deputy editor of News of the World (2003-2007), executive editor of the paper (2007-2009). Fellow journalists knew him as “the wolfman”.
Sir Paul Stephenson: cop since 1975. Rose through the ranks to commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in 2009. Resigned last week over scandal.
John Yates: assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and was appointed head of Specialist Operations on 9 April 2009. Was top terror cop when police killed Jean Charles De Menezes. Resigned Monday.
Andy Hayman: assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Metropolitan Police (2005–2007).
James Murdoch: son of Rupert. Assumed heir to the empire pre-hacking scandal. Represents News Corp’s interests at BSkyB.
Les Hinton: one of Rupert Murdoch’s closest business associates and head of News International at the height of the News of the World’s phone hacking. Resigned on Friday as chief executive of Dow Jones in New York.