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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up