Max Mosley: 'News International has blackmailed MPs and others. Leveson must hear the truth'

He fought Murdoch – and won – over the false 'Nazi sex party' story. Now he tells Martin Hickman he's bankrolling another battle

Max Mosley, the motor racing multi-millionaire, is bankrolling a plan to expose potential blackmail and intimidation against politicians by Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group. Mr Mosley said in an interview with The Independent that he was funding legal assistance for MPs to reveal their experiences of the country's largest newspaper group – in an attempt to demonstrate its secret power in British politics.

In explosive evidence this week, the Leveson Inquiry revealed the existence of secret contacts between the office of the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and a lobbyist at News International's parent company, News Corp, aimed at furthering its controversial takeover of the broadcaster BSkyB.

After the release of the 161 pages of emails, Mr Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith resigned, but Mr Hunt is still clinging to his post.

Mr Mosley – who won £60,000 damages from the News of the World in 2008 over false allegations he had taken part in a "Nazi" orgy – believes at least 10 MPs may have important evidence about the behaviour of News International towards politicians.

He said: "Organisations like Hacked Off are trying to make sure that everything that should be put in front of Leveson will be – and that's particularly important where there have been a large number of cases where News International have set out to intimidate, even blackmail, members of Parliament and other people in positions of authority.

"So as far as it's possible to do so, those facts have to be brought to Leveson and I'm trying to help in a modest way. I am making legal advice available."

MPs fearful of disclosing embarrassing evidence could give their evidence anonymously, the 72-year-old said, adding that intermediaries were contacting current and ex-MPs on his behalf to assess whether they wished to come forward.

For years, News International has been suspected of exerting a powerful influence behind the scenes in politics by exploiting the power and electoral endorsements of its newspapers: The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the now-closed News of the World.

Very few MPs have so far publicly claimed that they have been targeted, though it is known that the News of the World hacked the phones of several Cabinet ministers, including John Prescott (while he was Deputy Prime Minister), David Blunkett and Mr Hunt's forerunner, Tessa Jowell.

The Labour MP Tom Watson – who was tailed by a NOTW private detective in 2009 while he was investigating rampant law-breaking at NI's headquarters in Wapping – has said attempts were made by the company to call him off. Chris Bryant, a Labour front-bencher who is also a columnist for The Independent, revealed in a Commons debate last year that an associate of Rupert Murdoch had warned him that campaigning on hacking would "not be forgotten." Mr Mosley said that he knew of two other cases where News International had brought undue influence to bear on MPs.

News International, which has 40 per cent of the national newspaper circulation in the UK, has always denied it meddles in politics. At the Leveson Inquiry this week, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp's chairman and the chief executive, surprised many observers when he said: "I have never asked a prime minister for anything."

The octagenarian billionaire also rejected evidence from former editors that he interfered in the content of The Times and The Sunday Times (though he said he set the political stance of The Sun) – or that his newspapers peddled his commercial interests.

In 2010, two years after winning his record privacy payout, Mr Mosley began to investigate phone hacking with the help of a secret source, Mr X, who had information about the files kept by the NOTW 's private detective, Glenn Mulcaire – who was jailed in 2007 for hacking the voicemails of royal aides.

In late 2010, Mr Mosley began bankrolling civil cases being brought by phone-hacking victims against News International, and he also funded a judicial review against Scotland Yard's handling of the case.

The trained barrister and motor racing executive partly blames NI for the death of his son, Alexander, in 2009 from cocaine intoxication. Speaking of his exposure by the NOTW for taking part in a sado-masochistic session a year earlier, Mr Mosley said: "Was it the last straw? It could well have been.

"He was brilliantly clever – much cleverer than me. He had a Phd in maths and went into economics. But he suffered from depression and a large number of doctors could not sort it out – but illegal drugs worked.

"I think in the end he had got on top of it [drug addiction] but he found the whole business unbearable – and I can understand that. Sons may not get on with their fathers, but they tend to respect them and if a father appears in some significantly undignified position that can be devastating."

Mr Mosley, who is a former president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, said: "They [the Murdochs] simply don't care as long as they can sell a few newspapers."

He believes the Murdochs and their newspapers have suborned Parliament. "If I'd been a senior politician, they would never have published that story," he said. "They would have come to me with some of the pictures and said: 'You know, we've been given this story, but, you know, don't worry Max, we're not going to publish it' – but leaving, of course, hanging in the air what would happen if you did anything to annoy them."

He believes this is what happened to several politicians. "That's exactly what I think has gone on and I believe they have done this to a number of people, some of them on the record. Tom [Watson] is on the record and there is a suggestion that they've done it to senior members of the police force. If it's true, it needs to brought out into the open with as many examples as possible so that one can see this has gone on," he said.

"I really believe that they ran their business rather like the East German government, or the Stasi, except that it wasn't the government it was the Murdoch organisation," he added.

"That sinister way of the Stasi (secret police) – that they would let you know things about you that you rather were not made public – I think it's exactly the same technique. I think that if we knew everything we might be quite surprised how – and for what reason – people were being kept under control."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?