A new development. Prince Harry alleged in new legal documents that his brother, Prince William, secretly reached a settlement with News Group Newspapers over historical phone hacking claims.
The documents are part of a lawsuit the Duke of Sussex, 38, filed against NGN for alleged unlawful information gathering, including phone hacking. In the papers, Harry’s lawyers claim that the Prince of Wales, 40, agreed to settle with the media corporation for a “very large sum” in 2020. According to CNN, the Invictus Games founder also claimed that his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II was aware of William’s alleged settlement discussions with NGN.
NGN owns the Sun newspaper and previously owned News of the World, which closed in 2011. Before the latter outlet’s closure, reporters used private investigators to gain access to voicemail accounts held by people of interest. In 2007, a News of the World editor and a private investigator were convicted of illegally intercepting phone messages from members of the royal family. While NGN has admitted that phone hacking took place at News of the World, the company claims no wrongdoing ever took place at The Sun.
Harry’s latest court filing also alleged that Buckingham Palace officials had a “secret agreement” with NGN to keep members of the royal family from filing lawsuits against the company. The former helicopter pilot said he became aware of the alleged deal in 2012 after he and his brother were told they couldn’t bring their own legal action against the paper because of the agreement.
NGN, however, told CNN on Tuesday, April 25, that “there was no such secret agreement” and had no comment about the alleged settlement with William.
Harry’s lawsuit against NGN is one of several legal actions the duke is currently involved in at the moment. The Spare author is also suing the publisher of the Daily Mirror, and he is part of a group suing Associated Newspapers Limited, which owns the Daily Mail.
In March, a judge ruled that Harry’s case against Mirror Group Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mirror, will go to trial in May. The media company has denied the prince’s allegations that journalists accessed his voicemails and argued that they are not liable for any claims predating October 2000, when the U.K.’s 1998 Human Rights Act went into effect.
A preliminary hearing for the Daily Mail case, meanwhile, took place in March. Harry and his fellow plaintiffs — including Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley — alleged that “numerous unlawful acts” were carried out by reporters and private investigators working on behalf of ANL.
“The evidence I have seen shows that Associated’s journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us,” the BetterUp CIO, who appeared in court for some of the hearings, said in a witness statement.
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The company, meanwhile, has “utterly and unambiguously” denied the plaintiffs’ allegations.
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