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Jude Law among UK hacking settlements

2012-01-19 20:07
 

London - Hollywood star Jude Law is among 19 new victims of phone hacking by Britain's News of the World tabloid who have received payouts from Rupert Murdoch's media empire, their lawyers said on Thursday.

Former British deputy premier John Prescott and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole were also among the claimants whose settlements, totalling tens of thousands of pounds each, were confirmed at the High Court in London.

Law, the star of Alfie, was paid £130 000, his lawyer said.

Lawyers said Murdoch's empire has now settled a total of 36 compensation claims arising from the hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the News of the World in July and embroiled the police and the government.

Mark Thomson, a lawyer for some of the victims, said the claimants had been "extremely brave to take on and succeed against a massive and influential multinational media organisation".

"They can take the credit for triggering the new police investigation, the parliamentary inquiries and the Leveson Inquiry. They should be very pleased with what they have achieved," he added.

Compensation scheme

He said the majority of people pursuing damages claims had now settled with News Group Newspapers, the publisher of the News of the World, but that others would press ahead with a trial scheduled for next month.

Other settlements confirmed on Thursday were Jude Law's ex-wife Sadie Frost, Australian singer Dannii Minogue, and Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson, the ex-husband of singer Charlotte Church.

Jude Law and the other victims were not in court for the announcement.

News International, the parent company News Group and British newspaper arm of Murdoch's US-based News Corporation, has set up a compensation scheme for victims of phone hacking in a bid to avoid further costly civil lawsuits.

Among those it settled last year were those by British actress Sienna Miller, Law's ex-girlfriend, who reportedly received £100 000, and James Hewitt, the former lover of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Arrests

It has also made a payout of £2m to the family of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, while Murdoch made a personal donation of £1m to charities chosen by her family.

Revelations that the News of the World hacked her phone caused public outrage when they emerged in July last year, turning the long-simmering issue into a major public scandal.

Prime Minister David Cameron launched the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of the press which has heard from a string of hacking victims and media figures in recent months.

Police have arrested several people including Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and media chief for Cameron, and former News International boss Rebekah Brooks.

Allegations that police were too close to Murdoch's papers also claimed the scalps of Scotland Yard's top officer and another senior policeman.

- AFP

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