Wallis 'sold stories' to Wapping while at Met


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The Independent Online

The former Deputy Editor of the News of the World, Neil Wallis, was feeding News International crime stories and being paid more than £25,000 when he was working for Scotland Yard as a consultant, it has been alleged.

Although he received £24,000 in fees from the Metropolitan Police, he was moonlighting for Rupert Murdoch's British news empire in a lucrative sideline. Details of the payments have emerged in records obtained by detectives investigating the NOTW phone-hacking scandal.

In internal billing records viewed by The Daily Telegraph, payments from NI were allegedly made during 2008 and 2009 after he had left the NOTW and was a consultant at Scotland Yard. In addition to the links to News International (NI), he is also believed to have sold stories to other newspapers.

Known as "the Wolfman" in Fleet Street, his top pay day from his former employers was reported as £10,000 for an exclusive.

Mr Wallis is reported as providing NI with details of a suspected assassination attempt on the Pope on his visit to London last year. Mr Wallis's solicitor last night issued a statement alleging information on his client had been leaked by Scotland Yard.

Phil Smith of Tuckers Solicitors said: "I confirm that we have today complained formally to the Metropolitan Police over the leaking of information from Operation Weeting. We object to the publication of any story based on this information which has been obtained from a source with no authority to place such information in the public domain. We will be pursuing this matter further."

Mr Wallis's contract at Scotland Yard is thought to have included a confidentiality clause, a Data Protection Act clause and a conflict of interest clause. Mr Wallis was arrested in July on suspicion of being involved in or having knowledge of intercepting phone messages during his time at the NOTW.

It was also revealed last night that Mr Wallis's old boss at the NOTW, Andy Coulson, is suing his former employers, News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of NI, for breach of contract after he learnt they were withdrawing funding for his lawyers.

Mr Coulson, the former NOTW editor who, after resigning over the phone-hacking scandal, was employed by David Cameron as No 10's communications director, was arrested in July as part of the Met's investigation into phone hacking.

Last month the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee asked Mr Coulson to reappear before it following new evidence given by James Murdoch, News Corp's European chief, Colin Myler, another former editor of the NOTW, and Rebekah Brooks, NI's former chief executive.

DLA Piper UK, Mr Coulson's lawyers, stated that their "client does not wish to make any additional comments on the evidence". Jo Rickards was the DLA Piper partner who was handling the Coulson brief. A criminal defence specialist, it would not have been unusual for Ms Rickards to charge clients £400 an hour.

The action by NI to cut Mr Coulson's legal support follows a similar move taken in July when NI removed funding for Glenn Mulcaire, the jailed private detective who had worked for NOTW. He is suing NGN for "breach of contractual indemnity" for his legal fees, likely to exceed £200,000.

Tom Watson, the Labour MP on the Culture Select Committee who has been a key inquisitor in their hacking inquiries, said: “News International is arbitrarily deciding which former employees they are financially backing. So it’s Coulson cut loose; Brooks still getting her fees covered.

“Why is this? And who is making these decisions?”