Bloomberg News

News Corp. Hacker Said to Have U.S. Phone Numbers in His Notes

February 24, 2012

The former News Corp. private detective who hacked phones for the News of the World had U.S. telephone numbers among the details of British hacking victims in his notes, a person familiar with the matter said.

Glenn Mulcaire, jailed in 2007 for illegally accessing mobile-phone messages of people in the U.K., had the numbers of singer Charlotte Church’s Los Angeles agent and New York publicist among thousands of pages of notes seized by police, said the person, who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The evidence, held by the police in London, may be of interest to U.S. prosecutors. New York-based News Corp. has been the subject of a probe into whether News of the World sought to hack phones of victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. A separate U.S. inquiry was begun into whether bribes of U.K. police officers violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which bars overseas corruption by U.S. companies.

The presence of the U.S. phone numbers in Mulcaire’s notes also may complicate the company’s effort there to contain lawsuits. News Corp. (NWS) has said it’s cooperating with three U.K. police probes into phone hacking, computer hacking and bribery of public officials by two of its tabloids.

“I’m going to work with the authorities to the fullest extent I can, and if there’s anything I can do to help the case, I will,” said Church’s publicist, Kevin Chiaramonte of Paul Freundlich Associates in New York, in a phone interview yesterday. The discovery, he said, was a “bit of a shock.” The publicist said he expects to be contacted by Scotland Yard, which declined to comment on the U.S. phone numbers. The notes didn’t indicate if the phones had been hacked, the person said.

Personal Phones Hacked

Church, 26, whose personal phones and those of her parents were hacked by Mulcaire for at least four years, settled a lawsuit against News Corp.’s U.K. unit Feb. 23.

Calls to News Corp. U.K. unit’s press office in London and News Corp. spokesman Jack Horner in New York weren’t immediately returned. Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment.

Church’s Los Angeles-based agent works for the Hollywood talent-management company William Morris Endeavor LLC, or WME, the person said, declining to identify them. A message left at the company’s office wasn’t returned.

Two numbers of London employees at Irving Azoff’s Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (LYV), who worked with Church, were also among Mulcaire’s notes. A call to Live Nation wasn’t immediately returned.

Wedding Singer

Church sang at News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s wedding in 1999 when she was 13-year-old and was later targeted by his newspapers while she grew up.

Church, whose 2005 song “Crazy Chick” reached No. 2 on the U.K. pop charts, told a judge-led inquiry into press ethics in November that Mulcaire’s evidence includes “many pages of names, numbers, notes, addresses, pin numbers and the fact that my mother and I were each a ‘project.”’

News International, which shuttered News of the World in July in an attempt to contain public anger, still faces possible claims by more than 800 “likely” victims identified by police as they sift through 11,000 pages of Mulcaire’s notes.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.

The case is Church v. News Group Newspapers, High Court of Justice Chancery Division, No. HC11C03393.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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