Up to a dozen News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks, learned in 2006 that the Metropolitan Police had evidence that more than one News of the World journalist was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal.
Rupert Murdoch aides have told Parliament they had no significant evidence until 2008 that illegal voicemail interception went beyond NOTW jailed royal editor, Clive Goodman.
New evidence reveals that police told the company two years earlier they had strong "circumstantial evidence" implicating other journalists. A senior police officer held a meeting with Ms Brooks after the arrest in August 2006 of Mr Goodman and private eye Glenn Mulcaire.
The officer told Ms Brooks that detectives sifting through documents seized from Mulcaire's home had found evidence that Goodman was not the only journalist involved in criminal activity. Tom Crone (pictured) NI's legal manager, contacted NI executives in autumn 2006 informing them of the Met's meeting with Ms Brooks.
The information passed to senior NI executives stated that the Met investigation had gathered substantial "circumstantial evidence" that other NOTW journalists were involved in hacking phones. It has been confirmed to i that among those contacted was NOTW's then-editor Andy Coulson.
The 2006 meeting between Ms Brooks and the Met raises fresh questions about the relationship between NI and Scotland Yard, which was criticised for the failure of its original investigation to uncover the wider practice of hacking inside the tabloid, and the fact that no one at the NOTW beyond Mr Goodman was interviewed by officers.
Ms Brooks was editing The Sun at the time of the encounter, meaning she would have had no direct responsibility for how the Sunday title handled its response to Goodman's arrest.
Representatives of Ms Brooks and Mr Coulson declined to comment.