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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

English Teacher

£22000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary English Teacher...

Content Manager - Central London

£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

General Cover Teacher - Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Teachers needed for Supply in t...

English Teacher Urgently Required - Secure Unit - Nottingham

£100 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Are you a fully qualified ...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on