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U.K. Lawmaker Pushes for Expanding Newspaper Hacking Probe

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June 8 (Bloomberg) -- London’s Metropolitan Police should expand a probe into illegal information-gathering by private investigators on behalf of U.K. newspapers, a lawmaker and a lawyer said.

Tom Watson, a Labour lawmaker, said in Parliament today that police were given information that a private investigator illegally targeted members of Britain’s royal family, senior politicians and high-level terrorist informants. Watson said the investigator is someone other than Glen Mulcaire, a private eye jailed in 2007 for accessing mobile-phone messages on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World Newspaper.

London attorney Mark Lewis said in a phone interview that he was acting on behalf of the people that made the complaint to the police over the most recent claims. He declined to name them citing “some issues relating to national security.”

Police in January opened a probe into alleged criminal activities at the News of the World newspaper after receiving “significant new information” from its U.K. parent, News International. Since then three people who have worked on the paper have been arrested and police confirmed in a statement today that they have received more complaints.

The department “can confirm that since January 2011 the MPS has received a number of allegations regarding breach of privacy which fall outside the remit of,” its current probe into the News of the World, the statement said. “These allegations are currently being considered.”

‘Wholly Inaccurate’

News International, the U.K. unit of Murdoch’s News Corp., said the investigator identified by Watson had worked for a number of newspaper groups.

“With regards to Tom Watson’s specific allegations, we believe these are wholly inaccurate,” News International said in an e-mailed statement today. The Metropolitan Police have not asked News International for any information regarding the journalist identified by Watson, the statement also said.

The Guardian reported that others who may have had their information compromised included former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and Kate Middleton, the now wife of Prince William.

A person at the BoE’s media office declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at jlumley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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