An MoD official, charged alongside Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson as part of Operation Elvden, was involved with organising visits to Afghanistan for officials. Bettina Jordan Barber’s LinkedIn profile shows her to be an Afghanistan Visits Strategy Officer:
Operation Elveden is looking into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
Jordan-Barber is alleged to have been paid £100,000 over a period of seven years.
With former News Of The World editor and Number 10 adviser Andy Coulson detained by Strathclyde Police for alleged perjury during the trial of Tommy Sheridan. Let’s take a look at what he told the court under oath.
On Glenn Mulcaire’s phone hacking:
“I never knew him as an individual, I never met him, I never spoke to him, I never heard his name until the Clive Goodman affair started. But I knew his consultancy was used in an entirely legitimate way during my time as editor.”
Asked about oversight “condoning” hacking in the newsroom:
“I don’t accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the NoW. There was a very unfortunate, to put it mildly, case involving Clive Goodman. No one was more sorry about it than me; that’s why I resigned.”
Quizzed on the testimony of former NOTW hack Sean Hoare, that Coulson told him to use the “dark arts”. Coulson said:
“I have absolutely no recollection of telling him that.”
On the hacking of Tommy Sheridan’s voicemail:
“I’m saying that I had absolutely no knowledge of it. I certainly didn’t instruct anyone to do anything at the time or anything else which was untoward.”
A perjury trial may well beget a perjury trial.
William Hague came out fighting for Rupert Murdoch after a report from MPs branded him “not a fit person” to run an international company. This is from the man who worked for the News of the World as one of their highest paid columnists, earning over £400,000 from it and his publishing deals.
Rowing back against efforts to pressure media regulators Ofcom over their “fit and proper” rule, Billy Fizz told Radio Five Live:
“They are great business people, let us be clear about that … people who run big businesses around the world are very capable people”
Hauge was brought to News Of The World by Andy Coulson in 2003. In his two years as a columnist Hague was paid an eye-watering £390,000 by the Murdoch red top — comprising four six-month contracts each worth almost £100,000. Hague is rumoured to have introduced Coulson to George Osborne, who fatefully brought him into Number 10.
Hague’s biographies of William Wilberforce and Pitt the Younger, written while he was on the backbenches, were published by Murdoch’s HarperCollins — boosting his income from NewsCorp companies to nearer £1m.
In backing NewsCorp, the foreign secretary follows in the tracks of fellow Murdoch columnist Michael Gove, who was one of Jeremy Hunt’s staunchest defenders after his bruising Commons statement last week. And while Louise Mensch’s books are published by Hachette, it is notable that her sister Tilly Bagshawe has transitioned from Hachette to Harper Collins.
We’re sure Mensch’s performances over the last year will not have debarred her from joining Murdoch’s stable of bestselling authors.
Read more: NOTW paid £20k to bury embarrassing photos »
The geographic scope of the Leveson Inquiry into the phone hacking scandal could be widened with the news that Scottish solicitor Aamer Anwar will be making a submission to the investigation. The high-profile legal activist said:
“We welcome the opportunity to make submissions to the Leveson Inquiry and will be highlighting the fact that criminality by the News of the World was not exclusive to England, but also rampant in Scotland.”
Anwar famously defended former Scottish Socialist leader Tommy Sheridan in his perjury trial, where the defence claimed that convicted hacker and NOTW employee Glen Mulcaire had accessed Sheridan’s phone illegally. Andy Coulson insisted that he had no knowledge of any hacking, and that Mulcaire had been paid for, erm, “legitimate services”.
As reported in August, Scrapbook understands evidence given by figures including Andy Coulson, Bob Bird and Douglas Wight may be of relevance to Strathclyde Police’s Operation Rubicon, the Scottish equivalent of the Met’s Weeting and Elveden inquiries into hacking, perjury and corruption.
To think that the “single rogue reporter” defence was still being used in July.
Ex-News of the World editors who gave evidence in the Tommy Sheridan trial are feeling the pressure as Strathclyde police steps up Operation Rubicon – the Scottish investigation into phone hacking and alleged perjury. Scrapbook understands that testimony given by figures including Andy Coulson, Bob Bird (former Scottish editor) and Douglas Wight (former news editor) may be of relevance to police inquiries.
More than 40 officers are currently assigned to the case, investigating evidence given during the trial as well as allegations of phone hacking north of the border. The number of officers attached has reportedly risen as high as 50 and there is a growing expectation that there will be arrests before too long.
The Herald reported last month that the Strathclyde force were not worried about a “Met-style scandal” - as contact between high level officers and the media had been “minimal.” Although Lothian & Borders police conducted the original Sheridan perjury probe, the Strathclyde force have been assigned the operation by the Crown Office because Coulson & Co’s alleged perjury took place in Glasgow High Court.
A lucky escape for Lothian & Borders who are doing their damndest to dodge questions about their relationship with News International.
The News of the World hacked multiple individuals connected with a libel trial, it has emerged. After Scots politician Tommy Sheridan told a court his mobile phone was targeted, the Daily Record has now reported that the newspaper also hacked its own star witness in the 2006 Sherdian v News Group Newspapers case.
The revelation raises questions as to the potential hacking of other witnesses and what knowledge former editor Andy Coulson had of this. The Murdoch-owned media group was ordered to pay £200,000 in damages to Sheridan over claims that he had attended sex clubs — but the former MSP is now serving a three-year sentence for perjury after he was convicted of lying under oath.
At his trial last year, Sheridan showed a courtroom notes apparently taken by convicted phone hacker Glen Mulcaire in 2004, which included his mobile phone number and voicemail PIN code. After testifying for the company in 2006, former socialist activist Fiona McGuire was recently told by police that she was also targeted by News International.
Asked at Sheridan’s 2010 perjury trial if the News of the World paid corrupt police officers, Andy Coulson replied “Not to my knowledge.” He also denied knowledge of “illegal phone hacking”, and did not accept that there was a “culture of phone hacking” at the paper. Then working for David Cameron in Downing Street, his legal fees were paid by News International despite growing evidence of criminality at the company.
As he bides his time in HMP Castle Huntly, doubtless we haven’t heard the last from Mr. Sheridan.
Earlier today, the Culture Media and Sport select committee published a mine of new correspondence between the committee and key players in the phone hacking scandal. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
- Clive Goodman wrote to News International after he was sacked for phone hacking, to make a claim for unfair dismissal. In the letter, he states that Andy Coulson was aware of the practice of phone hacking, and that it was regularly discussed in editorial meetings until “explicit reference of it was banned by the Editor.”
- The version of Goodman’s letter provided to the committee by News International had redacted all references to hacking being discussed in editorial meetings.
- According to James Murdoch, Clive Goodman was paid £243,502.08 in settlement of his unfair dismissal claim. Also, approximately £246,000 was paid to Glenn Mulcaire’s lawyers to cover his legal fees.
- The Editor and Managing Editor of the News of the World could authorise payments of up to £50,000. Deputy Editors could authorise £10,000 and Desk Heads, £2000.
- 54 staff have been disciplined under News International’s Corporate Code of Conduct since 2000, including 3 this year.
- While NI have records stating Rebekah Brooks was on holiday at the time the Millie Dowler story which had been sourced through phone hacking broke, James Murdoch says they do not have records showing who deputised for her, or who the on duty lawyer was.
- Mark Lewis, Gordon Taylor’s lawyer, says he was told by a lawyer representing News International that he was “negotiating with Murdoch.” Lewis says “I did not know whether he meant Rupert Murdoch or James Murdoch at that time, but it seems likely that the reference was to James.”
- The 2007 email review carried out by Harbottle & Lewis, far from being a full, unrestrained investigation, was restricted to five email subfolders – and only to look for evidence regarding Clive Goodman. The “limited” selection of documents were examined over a period of two weeks, by junior employees.
- When James Murdoch the legal firm had been brought in to find out “what the hell was going on”, he may have been, say Harbottle & Lewis, “confused or misinformed.”
- News International’s former Director of Legal affairs Jonathan Chapman told the committee the 2007 Harbottle & Lewis email review could not be characterised as the “wider internal investigation” it had been made out to be at the committee hearing. He said the attempt to do so could be said to be “a diversion.”
Have we missed anything? If you’ve found something juicy in the documents that we haven’t listed, let us know.
After Scots politician Tommy Sheridan was convicted of perjury in his legal struggle with the News of the World, prosecutors have refused to release papers that could reveal improper meetings with News International before the former MSP was charged.
As with phone hacking in England, the Sheridan case has brought scrutiny to an invidious relationship between News International and the justice system, with one of Scotland’s most prominent lawyers, Ian Hamilton QC, claiming undue influence was brought to bear on Scotland’s top legal officer:
“No doubt the Lord Advocate was leant on by Rupert Murdoch’s employees.”
The case has long been the subject of concerns over due process after key prosecution witnesses were offered payments by News of the World. Revelations last month that Andy Coulson “condoned police payoffs” led to a recent review of witness statements by Strathclyde Police.
A recent Freedom of Information request asking for documents relating to the Sheridan prosecution — that would encompass details of possible meetings with Murdoch aides — was stonewalled by the Lord Advocate’s office without conducting legally required public interest tests, Scrapbook understands.
While the Scottish fallout from News of the World’s nefarious practices has generated fewer column inches than hacking cases in English courtrooms, aspects of the murky Sheridan case, such as allegations of perjury against Andy Coulson, could yet turn the screws on News International.
Expect further revelations on the Sheridan/Murdoch battle later in the week.