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Murdoch paper publisher ‘paid ex-exec employed by police’

LONDON (AFP) – An ex-executive at Britain’s News of the World hired by police after quitting the tabloid was paid more than £25,000 by the paper’s publisher during his time at Scotland Yard, a report said Saturday.

Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the paper, received the payments, the equivalent of $39,000 or 29,000 euros, in late 2009 and 2010 for providing crime stories to the weekly, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

The details of the payments from Rupert Murdoch’s News International, which published the News of the World until its closure in July amid the phone-hacking scandal, emerged in billing records obtained by detectives, said the paper.

Wallis was hired as a part-time consultant by London’s Metropolitan Police in late 2009, shortly after quitting the News of the World. In late 2009 and 2010, he was paid £24,000 of public money for the work he did at the force.

He was arrested in July on suspicion of phone hacking and is currently free on bail. The disclosure he was employed by police prompted the resignation of two of Scotland Yard’s top officers.

A police spokesman said that Wallis’s contract with the police force included confidentiality, data protection and conflict of interest clauses, all of which would have prohibited him from selling on any information while employed by them.

The Telegraph cited Wallis’s lawyer, Phil Smith of Tuckers Solicitors, as saying that a formal complaint had been lodged with police alleging that Scotland Yard had leaked information about his client.

Scotland Yard confirmed it had received a letter of complaint from Wallis’ lawyers on Friday.

A News International spokeswoman said: “News International continues to cooperate fully with the Metropolitan Police Service in its investigations into phone hacking and police payments.

“We are eager to assist in any way possible to ensure that those responsible for criminal acts are brought to justice.”



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