Steve Coogan Legal Action Likely to Reveal High Profile Names in Phone-Hacking Scandal
LONDON – Legal action taken by comedian and actor Steve Coogan is likely to reveal some of the key figures at the heart of phone-hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of the World.
Coogan, himself an alleged victim of the interceptions by the News International owned paper, has argued through his lawyers, that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the hacking case should disclose who had instructed him to hack into the voicemails of six high profile public figures.
According to media reports, London’s High Court demanded Mulcaire reveal who instructed him at the paper to access the voicemails of model Elle MacPherson and five other public figures including celebrity PR agent Max Clifford.
Mulcaire is due to reveal the details by the end of next week in a move that will throw further light on the scale of phone hacking.
The investigator was jailed in 2007 along with the paper's ex-royal correspondent Clive Goodman for illegally accessing the voicemails of royal aides and five other figures including Macpherson.
Coogan’s lawyers Schillngs reported that the court had refused Mulcaire leave to appeal against a decision ordering him to reveal who instructed him to hack the phones.
Mulcaire would have to answer their questions in a formal document to be filed at the court before September. This should be available for the public to see.
"He will now have to identify exactly who at the News of the World asked him to access the mobile phones of the named individuals and who he provided the information to at the News of the World," Coogan’s lawyer told Reuters.
"Mr Mulcaire is due to provide these answers by the end of the month and we await his answers with interest."
Some executives, including Rupert Murdoch's son James Murdoch, chairman of News International, are facing further questions over what they knew and when after a week of further revelations.
Coogan’s appearance on BBC flagship news show Newsnight shortly after the closure of The News of the World has quickly become a YouTube favorite in the U.K. garnering more than 85,000 hits within days. On the show he tore into tabloid journalist Paul McMullen shouting down any idea that phone-hacking is okay, calling it “morally bankrupt.”
Mulcaire has filed a lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch's entertainment conglomerate amid claims News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit breached a contract when it recently decided to stop paying his legal fees, according to the paper.
Filed in U.K. High Court, the Mulcaire lawsuit says that News Corp. agreed in June 2010 to protect him against legal costs and damages, but last month terminated that guarantee.