UK hacking scandal spreads, 100-plus new claims

By SYLVIA HUI,Associated Press Updated at 2012-07-23 11:24:34 +0000


LONDON (AP) — The police investigation spawned by last year's phone hacking scandal has spread to new U.K. tabloids, with detectives now seeking information from the Trinity Mirror PLC newspaper group as well as Britain's Express Newspapers, a senior Scotland Yard official said Monday.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers' comments indicated that the scandal, which erupted at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid, could end up burning its U.K. competitors, where it has long been rumored that journalists engaged in many of the same illegal practices.

Akers gave as an example payments of tens of thousands of pounds (dollars) allegedly made to the same prison officer by all three newspaper groups, saying that "our assessment that there are reasonable grounds to suspect offenses have been committed and that the majority of these stories reveal very limited material of genuine public interest."

She also told a judge-led inquiry into media ethics that her force was combing through a mountain of data to find evidence for more than 100 claims of what she called "data intrusion" — a category which includes computer hacking and improper access to medical records.

The phone hacking scandal erupted last July after it emerged that journalists at the now-defunct News of the World routinely eavesdropped on cell phones' voicemail boxes in order to score scoops. The probe has since grown to take in allegations of computer hacking and bribe-paying across the British media — and beyond.