Police: Someone sabotaging UK newspaper inquiry

Jul 11 2011 - 9:37am

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Police officers keep guard at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. The British press has reported that emails given to police indicate that News International chiefs knew that phone hacking was more widespread than acknowledged and that police were being paid for information.The police position is difficult because of allegations that some of its officers received payoffs from News of the World journalists. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A view of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. The British press has reported that emails given to police indicate that News International chiefs knew that phone hacking was more widespread than acknowledged and that police were being paid for information.The police position is difficult because of allegations that some of its officers received payoffs from News of the World journalists. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Members of the media gather outside News International's office in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday urged Rupert Murdoch to reconsider his bid for broadcaster BSkyB, citing an outpouring of revulsion that followed the phone hacking scandal that hit the tabloid News of the World.(AP Photo/Akira Suemori)
Chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, James Murdoch, right, Chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, center, and her husband Charlie Brooks, left, leave a hotel in central London, Sunday, July 10, 2011. News International publication News of the World ceased publication with today's issue after the newspaper was accused of hacking into the mobile phones of various crime victims, celebrities and politicians. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Chairman of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch, center right, and his son James Murdoch, center left, chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia face the media as they arrive at his residence in central London, Sunday, July 10, 2011. News of the World cease publication with Sunday issue the last. News of the World is accused of hacking into the mobile phones of various crime victims, celebrities and politicians. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Police officers keep guard at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. The British press has reported that emails given to police indicate that News International chiefs knew that phone hacking was more widespread than acknowledged and that police were being paid for information.The police position is difficult because of allegations that some of its officers received payoffs from News of the World journalists. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A view of Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. The British press has reported that emails given to police indicate that News International chiefs knew that phone hacking was more widespread than acknowledged and that police were being paid for information.The police position is difficult because of allegations that some of its officers received payoffs from News of the World journalists. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Members of the media gather outside News International's office in London, Monday, July 11, 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday urged Rupert Murdoch to reconsider his bid for broadcaster BSkyB, citing an outpouring of revulsion that followed the phone hacking scandal that hit the tabloid News of the World.(AP Photo/Akira Suemori)
Chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, James Murdoch, right, Chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, center, and her husband Charlie Brooks, left, leave a hotel in central London, Sunday, July 10, 2011. News International publication News of the World ceased publication with today's issue after the newspaper was accused of hacking into the mobile phones of various crime victims, celebrities and politicians. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Chairman of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch, center right, and his son James Murdoch, center left, chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia face the media as they arrive at his residence in central London, Sunday, July 10, 2011. News of the World cease publication with Sunday issue the last. News of the World is accused of hacking into the mobile phones of various crime victims, celebrities and politicians. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON -- British police said Monday that they believe someone is trying to sabotage its investigation into the widening phone hacking scandal by leaking distracting details of the inquiry to the media.

In an unusual statement, Scotland Yard said that a story that appeared on the front page of London's Evening Standard -- which claimed that police had sold personal details about the queen and her closest aides -- was "part of a deliberate campaign to undermine the investigation into the alleged payments by corrupt journalists to corrupt police officers and divert attention from elsewhere."

The British press has furiously reporting allegations journalists at the News of the World tabloid hacked into phones of young murder victims, families of dead servicemen and terrorism victims.

The scandal, which prompted Rupert Murdoch's News International to close down the tabloid, has since spread to take in allegations that police were given bribes for tips and other information.

The Evening Standard's piece said that bosses at News Corp., News International's parent company, discovered a series of e-mails which indicated that employees had been making corrupt payments to members of Scotland Yard's royal protection officers in return for personal details about the monarch's entourage.

The Evening Standard cited "sources" without saying who the sources were or how they would be in a position to know.

Scotland Yard has declined to specifically address the claims, but in a statement directly referencing the Standard's story they said that they were "extremely concerned and disappointed that the continuous release of selected information -- that is only known by a small number of people -- could have a significant impact on the corruption investigation."

 

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