The names of at least 28 employees of News Corp’s U.K. subsidiary appear in notes seized from a private investigator who specialized in phone hacking, the chief counsel for the government’s inquiry into the scandal surrounding News International and the shuttered News of the World tabloid says. “At least 27 other NI employees” in addition to the jailed former royal editor Clive Goodman appear in notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the PI who was also jailed for intercepting voicemails in January 2007. Chief counsel Robert Jay said the number of names that appear scribbled on Mulcaire’s notes “suggests wide-ranging, illegal activity within the organization.” Police also now suspect that phone hacking may have continued until 2009, which would include Murdoch’s tenure that began in 2007. Suspicion of wrongdoing has also spread to another News International paper, the Sun, and to a competitor, the Daily Mirror, whose parent Trinity Mirror’s spokesman said the company has no knowledge of ever using Mulcaire.
Also on Monday, the NOTW’s former chief reporter substantiated James Murdoch’s repeated claims that he was never informed of the full extent of the company’s illegal activity. Neville Thurlbeck — the person to whom the “for Neville” email containing evidence of widespread phone hacking was addressed — told Reuters that “Murdoch had been kept in the dark and deprived of vital evidence showing phone hacking went far wider” than a single rogue reporter (Goodman). Thurlbeck said former editor Colin Myler and legal manager Tom Crone also were aware of evidence that implicated another senior executive at the paper. The evidence in question included voicemail transcripts and resulted in Murdoch’s approving, based on Crone and Myler’s recommendation, a payment of about $1.4 million to soccer union boss Gordon Taylor. News Corp critics have seized upon the large payment as “hush money” to buy Taylor’s silence. Thurlbeck has also protested his innocence in the Taylor case and is engaged in an unfair dismissal case.