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New facts uncovered in UK hacking probe

world Updated: Nov 04, 2011 22:47 IST

Three separate investigations by British Scotland Yard into the phone-hacking controversy have revealed new facts as Rupert Murdoch's News International today launched a compensation plan for victims of phone-hacking at the defunct News of the World.

Scotland Yard said the number of identified phone-hacking victims so far was 5,795, including many celebrities, with the number likely to increase further as investigations continue under Operation Weeting.

Under Operation Elvedon, which is investigating alleged payments of nearly 130,000 pounds over several years from the News of the World to police officers for information, one 48-year-old unnamed journalist employed with a News International title was arrested today.

The media group, meanwhile, said it had launched the compensation scheme as "a speedy, cost effective alternative to litigation."

It urged anyone contacted by the police or who believed they were a victim to consider applying for compensation under the scheme.

The third Scotland Yard investigation, Operation Tuleta, is investigating hacking into computers for information.

The phone-hacking controversy seriously dented Murdoch's media empire in Britain earlier this year, including leading to his company's withdrawal of the BSkyB takeover bid.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said it is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked "but we can confirm that as of today's date, 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795."

"This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis," the spokesman said.