Max Mosley, the motor-racing millionaire awarded £60,000 in damages over News of the World claims that he took part in a Nazi orgy, is bankrolling phone-hacking victims' fight against the tabloid.
He has agreed to underwrite the legal costs of an unknown number of people who claim the newspaper eavesdropped on their mobile-phone messages.
Mr Mosley told today's edition of the US magazine Vanity Fair: "In a number of cases I've said to people: 'If you lose, I'll stand behind you.'... In Britain, to bring a lawsuit, you either have to have no money at all or be eccentric." Mr Mosley is also suing Mr Murdoch's news empire in several European states for breach of privacy in his own case.
Rupert Murdoch's News International, the NoTW's owner, has indicated it will settle many of the 24 civil cases before the High Court. The company – which last month expressed "sincere regret" over the phone-hacking scandal – declined to comment on Mr Mosley's interview.