Scotland Yard loaned former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks a police horse for her Oxfordshire farm.
In a glimpse of how close relations between Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the Metropolitan Police had become, The Evening Standard today revealed how Brooks was allowed to keep the retired horse for over a year, before it was eventually re-housed with a police officer in 2010.
The loan was made in 2008 while Lord Blair was Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Service. Lord Blair said he was not aware of the gift.
A friend of Rebekah Brooks, and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie, told The Evening Standard: "Rebekah acted as a foster carer for the horse. Anybody can agree to do this with the Met if they have the land and facilities to pay for its upkeep."
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, Mounted Branch officers find it a suitable retirement home. Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted with its care, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service.
The revelation comes a day after The Leveson Inquiry heard that the relationship between News International and the Met was "at best inappropriately close and at worst corrupt".