New facts as UK phone-hacking probe begins

London, Nov 15: New facts in the phone-hacking row came to light on Monday as the public inquiry into the scandal began, indicating the scale of unethical and illegal practices allegedly adopted at the now defunct 'News of the World' tabloid owned by embattled media baron Rupert Murdoch.

The Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press was told by Robert Jay, counsel to the inquiry, that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the tabloid, was asked 2,266 times to dig information about individuals.

The police found 690 audio recordings when his offices were raided in 2006. Muclaire intercepted 586 voicemails, intended for 64 people, between 2001 and 2009. He also made 318 calls to people's voicemail numbers, Jay told the inquiry. Of the 2,266 times he was asked to find out information, 2,143 were tasked by four journalists, whose names were not revealed on the first day of the hearing.

Mulcaire also carried out 38 occasions of 'blagging' (posing as someone else on the phone and asking for personal data). Jay outlined six categories of press misbehaviour that the inquiry will look at: Electronic surveillance or intrusion, data theft (for example, going through bins or stealing diaries), agent provocateur, payments to witnesses or private investigators, phone and email hacking, catch-all: unfair, unethical and underhand press activities.


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