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Lawyer says News of the World hacked 7,000 phones

Gutterwatch Murdoch's Watergate
Mon Apr 11 2011, 13:38

RUPERT MURDOCH'S UK tabloid rag News of the World (NOTW) could have hacked up to 7,000 phones, according to lawyers.

NOTW's lead balloon apology for phone hacking celebrities and other rag worthy high-profile people looks set to realise diminishing returns. The tabloid is already embroiled in fresh scandal as a top lawyer said the newspaper's hacks hacked up to 7,000 phones.

Mishcon de Reya lawyer Charlotte Harris, who also wangled millions in damages for Max Clifford from NOTW after he was hacked, told the Independent that we aren't near the truth yet. Harris said that if someone hacks one phone, they then get access to everyone's personal details who leaves a message for them. She suggested that the numbers of phones involved will likely increase by several thousand, which puts the figure anywhere between 4,000 and 7,000.

With all the gusto of a NOTW gutter hack, another lawyer, Rod Dadak of Lewis Silkin said the scandal was "Rupert Murdoch's Watergate" and the potential litigation figure is between £20 and £40 million. NOTW might have to add a bit of cash to the top up fund it put together for aggrieved parties.

The NOTW hasn't actually explained to anyone who it hacked. All it offered was that it is conducting an "extensive internal investigation" and has contacted "some civil litigants with an unreserved apology and an admission of liability".

The only named victims so far include Sienna Miller, designer Kelly Hoppen, former minister Tessa Jowell, and sports agent Sky Andrews. If Charlotte Harris has her maths right, the number of potential plaintiffs that Murdoch might have to pay off could shoot up remarkably. µ


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