Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#Leveson: #Coulson's Xmas Hampers To The Corrupt MET!

Former Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson sent a Christmas hamper to Scotland Yard’s press office as thanks for its work on behalf of the News of the World, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.
The Met’s head of media, Dick Fedorcio, said Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, arranged the gift to pay tribute to his staff’s dealings with the defunct Sunday tabloid in December 2003.

Coulson ran the News of the World between 2003 and 2007 before leaving to become David Cameron’s press spokesman. He was forced to resign over the hacking scandal in January last year and was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to hack phones in July.

Mr Fedorcio told Lord Justice Leveson: “I believe this was a thank you for the DPA’s [Directorate of Public Affairs] efforts in dealing with the paper’s demands, often at short notice on a Saturday afternoon.”

He later added: “My wife said she often did not see me for many of them [Saturdays].” The influential press chief told how he was often bothered at weekends by the News of the World.

On one occasion, it was over the alleged plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham which he said needed a “police response, as well as a press response”. Nine people were arrested over the suspected plan after the News of the World passed information to police in November 2002.

The charges were later dropped.

Mr Fedorcio also said he arranged for former NoW editor Colin Myler to speak to ex-Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson when the newspaper was about to publish its scoop on the corrupt Pakistani cricketers.

Mr Fedorcio, who is on gardening leave, admitted letting a News of the World journalist use his computer to file a story about a senior policeman.

The paper’s former crime editor Lucy Panton wrote and emailed an article about former Metropolitan Police commander Ali Dizaei from his office.

Mr Fedorcio said in a written statement: “To help her, and as she was under pressure, I offered to let her type the story, which she did from notes that she arrived with, in an email on the standalone computer in my office.”

Mr Fedorcio also admitted that he had arranged for the loan of the horse to Rebekah Brooks.