LONDON, (Reuters)- Scotland Yard investigators have cryptic financial records corroborating suspicions that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson knew about illegal payments to police officers, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The cash records tally with payments suggested in an email discussion between Coulson and the newspaper’s disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman.
Cash and email records were part of a dossier compiled by a London law firm which News International, parent company of Rupert Murdoch’s London newspaper holdings, hired four years ago to look into allegations of phone hacking by News of the World journalists. The inquiry was launched after Goodman and a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, were arrested and convicted for hacking into the voicemails of aides to members of Britain’s royal Family. The two were jailed for several months for conspiracy to access phone messages.
After conducting its review, the law firm, Harbottle & Lewis, told the company it had found no evidence of hacking by other News of the World journalists. But James Murdoch, who until earlier this year ran News International, told parliament earlier this week that top company officials did not examine all the documentation until after civil lawsuits from alleged hacking victims began to gather steam late last year.
News International said late on Wednesday it had released Harbottle & Lewis from its obligations of client confidentiality so the law firm could answer questions from the police and parliament about what it had been asked to do. Harbottle & Lewis did not respond to requests for comment.