'Mirror' share tips 'were leaked to City speculators ahead of publication'

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Anil Bhoyrul, one of the sacked journalist at the heart of the share-dealing controversy at The Mirror, said yesterday that security breaches at the newspaper had caused share prices to soar in the City.

Insiders at the paper were tapping into his City Slickers column on the Mirror computer and leaking share tips before they appeared in print, Mr Bhoyrul said.

"Within half an hour of my writing something, it would appear on the internet," he said. "Then, within 15 minutes, the price would go up by as much as 40 per cent. That could be a hell of a lot of people getting into the market within 15 minutes, or one or two guys with half a million quid."

Mr Bhoyrul said that he has a "fair idea" of who was stealing the information and that he went told Piers Morgan, The Mirror's editor, about the security breaches, which were addressed a few weeks before the column was axed.

He described the City Slickers section as "a monster that was out of control" and claims he has vital evidence about Mr Morgan's culpability, or lack of it, in the share-dealing scandal.

But, said Mr Bhoyrul, a full month after the launch of its inquiry, the Department of Trade and Industry has still failed to question him.

"If the DTI come knocking, I will obviously tell them what they want to know," he said. "But nobody has rung - I've been waiting God knows how long, even though at the time it was said that I'd be getting a call within two days."

Mr Morgan admits he bought shares in the computer company Viglen the day before Mr Bhoyrul and his City Slicker colleague James Hipwell published an article saying Viglen was to launch an internet division.

His defence is that the timing was a coincidence. Mr Bhoyrul said that the subject came up when Mr Morgan telephoned him on the evening of 1 February to say that journalists from The Daily Telegraph were asking about the shares.

"As soon as he told me that The Telegraph knew, it was clear that there was going to be a huge amount of shit for him over Viglen and over the whole share-dealing thing," he said.

Mr Bhoyrul refused to give details of what was said about Mr Morgan's foreknowledge of the internet deal. "I might put that in a book," he said. But he will tell any authority that asks.

Mr Bhoyrul said that senior people at The Mirror knew that share dealing was going on, but that "nobody ever questioned it". "At the back of my mind I thought, 'this thing is getting a bit scary, a bit of a monster really'," he said.

He acknowledged that he bought shares in 21 companies after he joined The Mirror, and that about seven were related with his column. Despite acres of condemnatory newspaper coverage, however, he still claimed to have done nothing wrong.