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Senior journalists accused in phone scandal

Two senior News of the World journalists were accused yesterday of involvement in the phone hacking scandal.

Chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was said to have received transcripts of intercepted calls, while assistant editor Greg Miskiw allegedly offered the private investigator at the centre of the row a large bonus for bringing in a key story.

Scotland Yard appeared to open up the possibility of a fresh investigation into the affair – despite seeming to rule out any further action last week.

The latest claims surfaced when the Commons' Culture, Media and Sport Committee heard evidence from the Guardian in the wake of its

revelations that the News of the World had paid out 1m in

damages to some of the

"thousands" targeted in phone hacks.

The newspaper's reporter Nick Davies handed MPs an email including a typed record of voice messages exchanged between Professional Football Association boss Gordon Taylor and his legal adviser.

The missive was apparently sent in June 2005 by a member of NoW staff, from a company account, to private investigator Glen Mulcaire – who was later jailed for hacking phones.

The email stated: "This is a transcript for Neville."

Mr Davies said that was a clear reference to Mr Thurlbeck, although he accepted none of the material was ever used in a story.

In February 2005 Mr Miskiw allegedly authorised a contract with Mulcaire, guaranteeing him a 7,000 bonus for "delivering the story they were after about Gordon Taylor", according to Mr Davies.

He claimed to have the names of 27 other reporters from the News of the World, and four from sister paper The Sun, whom he said were implicated in the row. Mr Davies accused the newspaper of mounting a cover-up of the extent of the problem.

"I think it is very hard to resist the conclusion that News International has been involved in covering up their journalists' involvement with private investigators who were breaking the law," he said.

"It is very worrying that Scotland Yard do not appear to have always said or done as much as they could have done to stop this."

The News of the World former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 after the phones of Royal household members and celebrities were accessed.

Police seemed to rule out a further investigation after the Guardian began publishing claims last week.

However, a letter from Assistant Commissioner John Yates to the Home Office, sent on Friday but only made public by the department yesterday, clarified that he only considered whether to re-open the investigation into Goodman and Mulcaire.

"In relation to any wider issues, I have not been asked to consider any other cases," he wrote.

The police had not received specific allegations about other journalists.

 
 
 

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