LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Manchester United soccer star Ryan Giggs has joined a growing list of celebrities suing Britain’s News of the World tabloid for illegally intercepting their voicemail messages, his lawyers revealed on Thursday.
“Proceedings relating to phone hacking were issued on behalf of Ryan Giggs in the High Court against News Group Newspapers Ltd, the publishers of News of the World, and Glenn Mulcaire,” Giggs’s law firm Schillings said.
Mulcaire is a private detective convicted in 2007 along with the News of the World’s then royal editor for voicemail hacking. The case was closed but was reopened this year after new evidence emerged.
Dozens of actors, politicians and sportspeople including Hollywood star Jude Law are now suing the newspaper, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media empire, for allegedly trawling their phone messages for scandal to sell newspapers.
The affair has cast a shadow over News Corp’s $14 billion attempt to buy the 61 percent of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB it does not already own, with critics saying the scandal shows the company is not fit to own more UK media.
News International, parent company of the best-selling Sunday tabloid, said it was aware of Giggs’s claim and also said that its Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks had her own voicemail hacked while she was editor of sister newspaper The Sun.
“News International can confirm that Rebekah Brooks was recently shown documents by the police that proved she was a victim of illegal voicemail interception,” the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media empire said.
News International said the documents related to a period around 2005 when Brooks, the first female editor of the Sun, was married to actor Ross Kemp, who was famous for playing Grant Mitchell in the long-running BBC soap EastEnders.
Giggs previously obtained a court order banning the reporting of an extra-marital affair.
Other alleged victims of the News of the World’s voicemail hacking include former British prime minister Gordon Brown, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and comedian Steve Coogan.
Actress Sienna Miller, Jude Law’s ex-girlfriend, has accepted 100,000 pounds ($161,700) in damages from News International after the news group admitted liability in a few cases including hers. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Andrew Callus)