Reporters with Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid repeatedly hacked into the voice mail of a minister in the former Labor government, sources close to the matter told Reuters.
The sources say that a Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective hired by the weekly, hacked into the voice mails of Dennis MacShane in 2004 and 2005 while he was Minister of Europe in Tony Blair's Labor government. Some of the messages that Mulcaire was able to obtain came from Joan Smith, a newspaper columnist and crime novelist who MacShane had a personal relationship with at the time.
MacShane, Smith and Sarah Webb, a lawyer for Mulcaire, have all declined to comment publicly about the incident. However, Tasmin Allen, a lawyer for MacShane, told Reuters that police were in possession of phone-hacking notes.
MacShane still serves in Parliament.
The hacking scandal has led to numerous arrests of reporters and editors, including Rebekah Brooks, who was the editor of News of The World at the time of the phone-hackings, and later became the CEO of News International; a subsidiary of News Corp. News of the World was shut down after phone-hacking allegations were reintroduced this summer.
On Wednesday, News Corp. was sent a letter by U.S. federal prosecutors requesting information about payments made to police. The Department of Justice is looking into whether the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. companies or their employees from paying off foreign officials to gain a marketplace advantage. Although not required to turn over information, experts say that the company likely will do so.
The scandal has also put James Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp. and the once heir apparent to his father, on the spot. In July, the younger Murdoch testified before Parliament, saying that he had no prior knowledge of the hacking going on at the tabloid.
However, Jon Chapman, former head of corporate and legal affairs at News International, claims that there were serious inaccuracies in Murdoch's testimony. Several other sources have made similar assertions, and Murdoch has been asked to reappear before Parliament for more questioning.