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Phone hacking scandal Murdoch's rivals possible Victims

# Oct 29, 10:21 AM by Mick

The Independent reports that “Commercial espionage”, was also a possible motive for phone hacking. A Top City PR firm said attempts may have been made to access the voicemails of executives who were advising on media takeovers. Citigate was dealing with the takeover bid between Telewest and NTL that was soon to become Virgin Media. Citigate’s Dewe Rogerson, has apparently been told that three executives may have fallen victim to the practice in 2005 and 2006, when phone hacking was said to be in regular practise at the News of the World at the time.

The public perception of the phone hacking practices, is that voice messages were intercepted illegally, in order to find stories. But because some of the potential victims were government media ministers and business executives, it is now possible that News Corporation’s wider corporate interests were at play.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder and owner of Virgin Group, revealed last year that police had told him his phone may have been hacked by the News of the World. His right-hand man, Will Whitehorn, Virgin Group’s corporate affairs director, is also considered to be a potential victim.

Rupert Murdoch owns a share in BSkyB and it was in 2006 when, Sir Richard Branson was attempting to buy a stake in ITV, only to be thwarted by BSkyb.

A spokesman for Citigate confirmed to The Independent by saying:-

“We were told by our mobile provider around 18 months ago that police were investigating allegations that between 2005 and 2006 attempts by unauthorised parties may have been made to hack into three of our company mobile phones.

We sought further details from the police but there has been no recent follow-up by them.”

Last year, News Corporation ceased production of the ‘News of the World’ after disturbing allegations that Kidnap and Murder victim, Milly Dowlers phone was illegally hacked by some of it’s reporters and that actual voice messages were deleted, raising the hopes of her parents.

The phone hacking scandal brought about the very public Leveson inquiry and Sir Brian Leveson is due to publish his findings within the next month and we could see a statutory newspaper regulation or two being recommended by him.

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