The Observer accessed my bank account, says Alex Salmond

 

Details of Alex Salmond's bank account were accessed by The Observer in the run up to Scottish elections in 1999, the First Minister claimed yesterday.

Mr Salmond told the Leveson inquiry that a journalist at the newspaper presented him with evidence of purchases made from his account which could have come only from someone who had access to his bank details.

He said among the items he had bought in the run up to the Holyrood elections were some from a store called Fun and Games which the journalist said had caused "great anticipation" on the paper.

"I had bought some toys for my then, at that time, young nieces in a toy shop which was called Fun and Games, and the person who informed me told me that this caused great anticipation and hope in the Observer investigation unit because they believed that perhaps Fun and Games was more than a conventional toy shop," he said.

Mr Salmond said that he had been told that it caused "enormous disappointment" at the newspaper when it turned out that Fun and Games was "just a toy shop".

Guardian News & Media, publisher of The Observer, said that Alex Salmond first raised the subject in a letter written to The Observer's editor in July 2011.

During his evidence to the inquiry Mr Salmond added he had no evidence that his phone had been hacked but said he believed there was a "substantial case" that improper practices were "rife across many newspaper titles". Mr Salmond was pressed on his attitude to newspaper owners, particularly Mr Murdoch, and what exchanges they had on politics – including Scottish independence.

But the SNP leader denied having specific discussions about the independence issue with media moguls.

"I wouldn't explicitly raise it at meetings necessarily because they'd always say 'go to the editors'. That certainly was Rupert Murdoch's practice, and I can't even remember, it may have cropped up in a James Murdoch meeting, but if so, he would say 'go to the editors', and go to the editors I did - as I say, sometimes successfully, sometimes not."

The Sun newspaper famously depicted Scotland in a noose in 2007 in a warning against voting SNP. In the 2007 Scottish election. The paper changed its position to back Mr Salmond for a second term as First Minister in 2011.

Today's witness: Questions PM should face

Why did you appoint Jeremy Hunt rather than Ken Clarke to oversee the BSkyB bid when it was clear that Mr Hunt had firm prior views in favour of the bid?

The Liberal Democrats were in favour of giving the job of deciding on News Corp's bid for BSkyB to the Justice Secretary rather than the Culture Secretary because they felt he was too close to News Corp. Mr Cameron is likely to be closely questioned on the chronology of events, and specifically why Mr Hunt was chosen ahead of Mr Clarke and who made that choice.

What was the extent of your investigation into how much Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking at the News of the World?

This is difficult territory for the Leveson Inquiry as charges are pending against Mr Coulson. However it will be important for Lord Justice Leveson to establish both why Mr Coulson was appointed by Mr Cameron in the first place and what due diligence he did when it became apparent that the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World was far greater than previously thought.

Did Rupert Murdoch ever try to influence Conservative Party policy, either before or after the last election?

John Major, in his evidence, suggested that Mr Murdoch made a direct link between support for the Tories and the party's position on Europe. The inquiry will want to establish whether similar conversations took place with the current Government.

Oliver Wright

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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
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
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
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

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

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
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried