EXCLUSIVE: Fake Sheikh and Phone Hacking
By Graham Johnson
Byline Head of Investigations
Mazher Mahmood used unlawful information from private detective Glenn Mulcaire.
Mulcaire illegally hacked and blagged the victims of Mahmood's stings.
The fresh claims are made by the Fake Sheikh’s former boss.
The Phone Hacking Link
The revelations throw into doubt the Sun reporter’s testimony at the Leveson Inquiry.
Mahmood said that he did not commission private detectives.
Now his ex-news editor, Greg Miskiw, has revealed that HE made the illegal requests on behalf of Mahmood.
Mahmood, 53, told the inquiry into press ethics and culture that private investigators provided LEGAL information and worked within press codes.
But former News of the World executive Greg Miskiw says that voicemails were intercepted and phone bills were accessed to help the undercover reporter stand-up stories.
Miskiw told Byline Investigations:
‘Mazher had a formidable team indeed. But there was one missing link. Maz didn't have anybody to trace, blag or hack.
‘That's where I came in.’
The big-time Fleet Street operator was convicted yesterday of perverting the course of justice in the ‘Tulisa cocaine trial,’ along with his driver Alan Smith, 67.
Mahmood and the Dark Arts
From 1991 to 2000, Mazher worked extensively with Southern Investigations, a private detective agency run by Jonathan Rees and former cop Sydney Fillery.
Southern was the cradle where the dark arts of blagging, burglary and bugging were developed for Fleet Street.
But the operations of Southern Investigations were interrupted by multiple police probes into the murder of Daniel Morgan.
Rees was charged with perverting the course of justice in 2000 and went to prison for five years.
Following the demise of Southern Investigations, Miskiw says that many of Mahmood’s stories between 2000 and 2004 relied upon Mulcaire’s expertise.
‘For many of the stories, Maz needed the dark art of hacking to trace people, to second source stories, to establish a link between people and a pattern of when they contacted each other.
‘And to get the general tone of a voicemail - was it business-like, friendly, social or more? Maz would be on the phone asking me to help out.
‘True, he never asked a PI to hack.......he asked me, his colleague and boss.’
Glenn Mulcaire Confirms
Glenn Mulcaire says that he told Miskiw that he would never deal directly with Mahmood. Mulcaire thought the ‘Asian Ace’ wasn’t ‘credible.’
Miskiw did not tell the £120,000-a-year telephonic expert that the inquiries were on behalf of Mazher.
But Mulcaire suspected that many of the jobs that he was tasked with were for ultimately for Mahmood.
(Greg Miskiw has written a first-person account of his times in charge of Mazher Mahmood for Byline Investigations to be published later)
Mahmood’s ex-undercover agent Christine Hart claims that he told her that he used Mulcaire directly a ‘couple of times.’
But she says Mahmood didn’t like him and said that he said Mulcaire ‘swallowed the budget’ for investigations.
‘It’s not correct that Mahmood didn’t use private detectives.
‘He used me and I was a private detective.’
Christine Hart has also written an account of her time with Britain’s most notorious ‘King of Sting.’
Mahmood's Evidence to Leveson
Mahmood made a statement to the Leveson Inquiry, whose recommendations have largely been ignored by regulators and government.
‘Private investigators were also used by the newspaper, but not
by me, to obtain information about subjects of investigations.
‘Again, reporters did not have direct dealings with them, but staff on the news
desk would liaise with them.
‘Their work included helping trace people, providing company searches and
checking other public records including births, deaths and marriages when they
worked as search agents.
‘Private investigators were never the source of any investigation that I pursued
while at The News of the World.’
The claims were put to The Sun press officer Dylan Sharpe before 2pm on 5
October and again by email today. He has not responded.