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More Problems For James Murdoch: New Details Emerge In NOTW Letters

Lawyers for Gordon Taylor said he wanted to be “vindicated or made rich” in negotiations over his controversial £700,000 ($1,121,341.40) phone-hacking settlement, according to the News of the World‘s lawyers. Taylor, the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association, had got hold of a highly damaging internal e-mail that proved phone hacking at the tabloid was not confined to “one rogue reporter”. The remarks were allegedly made after three previous offers for damages were made by the tabloid – the first for £50,000, ($80,095.81) the second for £150,000 ($240,287.45) and the third for £350,000. ($560,670.69)

The new detail on Taylor’s confidential negotiations has emerged in a letter from News of the World‘s legal advisers to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee.

“We suggested making an initial offer of £50,000, ($80,095.81)” said Farrer & Co, which advised News International over the level of payouts. “However we advised that it was inevitable that Mr Taylor would want more in view of the fact that his initial demand for £250,000 ($400,479.07) had been increased by £750,000 ($1,201,437.21) to £1 ($1.6) million.”

When the first two offers were refused, News of the World told Farrer to increase the offer again.

“The firm was instructed to increase the Part 36 offer to £350,000. ($560,670.69) This offer was also rejected. Mr Lewis [Mark, Taylor’s solicitor] informed Mr Pike [Julian, a partner at Farrer] that Mr Taylor ‘wanted to be vindicated or made rich’.”

At that point Taylor was demanding £1 ($1.6) million in settlement as by now the significance of the so-called “for Neville” e-mail was understood.

“Following the disclosure of documents by the Metropolitan police and others to Mr Taylor, which were then disclosed by Mr Taylor to NGN [News Group Newspapers], Mr Taylor demanded £1 ($1.6) million in way of settlement, plus costs,” Farrer confirms in its letter to the select committee.

In the end Taylor managed to get £425,000 ($680,814.41) in damages from the News of the World plus costs. James Murdoch confirmed at the select committee hearing in July that Taylor’s overall payout was between £600,000 ($961,149.76) and £700,000 ($1,121,341.4) including costs.

Other letters just published by the select committee reveal:

— Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of News of the World, has written to say he is unable to re-appear before the select committee because of a police investigation and ill health. He told the committee he had “a heart attack and stroke last year and a further heart attack last month”.

— Jon Chapman, the former head of the legal affairs at News International, did not receive £1 ($1.6).6 million in a settlement when he left the company. His solicitors have told the committee his “compromise agreement with News International was a small fraction of £1 ($1.6).6 million”. He continues to have the company’s private medical insurance until September 2012.

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.