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New emails found in phone-hack scandal

"MANY tens of thousands" of documents and emails that might be evidence of phone hacking have been found by the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World, Britain's High Court has been told.

"MANY tens of thousands" of documents and emails that might be evidence of phone hacking have been found by the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World, Britain's High Court has been told.

The lawyer for News Group Newspapers, which had been ordered to search its internal mail system for any evidence of hacking of a list of public figures, said: "Two very large new caches of documents have been [found] which the current management were unaware of."

The search was not yet finished, Michael Silverleaf, QC, told the court.

The news emerged before Mr Justice Vos, who was conducting pre-trial hearings for civil suits by phone-hacking claimants.

Mr Justice Vos said he wanted five "lead actions", including suits by politicians and celebrities, to be the first considered by the courts.

He accepted Sheila Henry, the mother of a 2005 London bombing victim, as a lead action as she was a victim of a crime and so represented "a new category of people".

Mrs Henry's 28-year-old son, Christian Small, died on his way to work when his train was bombed by terrorists.

A spokesman for News International said: "We take very seriously the matters raised in court . . . and we are committed to working with civil claimants to resolve their cases."

Separately, the company announced that News International chief executive James Murdoch was happy to reappear before the House of Commons hacking inquiry. MPs decided on Tuesday to recall him after two of his former colleagues disputed his claim that he did not know of a crucial phone-hacking email.

Meanwhile in the US, prominent News Corp investors added to their claims in a lawsuit in which they accuse Rupert Murdoch of using the company as his "own private fiefdom" and the company of widespread misconduct.

In March the shareholders launched a US legal action aimed at board members including Mr Murdoch, his sons James and Lachlan, and the media empire's chief operating officer, Chase Carey.

Leading the charge are Amalgamated Bank, the New Orleans Employees' Retirement System and the Central Laborers' Pension Fund.

The latest amended complaint alleges "widespread misconduct" at New Corp subsidiaries including News America Marketing and smartcard manufacturer NDS.

The complaint says the two "have been accused by multiple parties of stealing computer technology, hacking into business plans and computers and violating the law through a wide range of anti-competitive behaviour".

It draws on several lawsuits in which subsidiaries were sued by rival businesses.

The current lawsuit claims NDS posted on the internet the code to the smartcards of a rival, allowing hackers to break into the rival's broadcasts for free.

There was no immediate response from News Corp.


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