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Hacking storm private eye fights for Rupert Murdoch aid

Rupert Murdoch's News International may have to continue funding the legal defence for the convicted phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire.

This is despite the company's promise to cut off the funds that have so far allowed him not to name the News of the World executives who commissioned him.

News International said it ended its financial support for Mr Mulcaire's legal bills after pressure to do so 12 days ago, but there are concerns within the company that it may still have a contractual obligation to assist him.

Mr Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 with the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman for phone hacking. Until now, NI had been funding him to appeal against a High Court order that would have forced him to name the executives who commissioned him to break into private voicemail messages.

Mr Mulcaire's solicitors wrote to News International last week to say they had received no written confirmation that the company was going to cease funding their client" and insisted that the firm was still liable to cover his legal costs.

It is understood that the company remains defiant and will fight any attempts by Mr Mulcaire's legal team to extract money.

One source said: "If they don't like it they can sue."

Mr Mulcaire, who claims he only ever acted on instructions from his employers, has vowed to continue his fight against the High Court ruling.

In a statement on 20 July, News International said: "News Corporation's management and standards committee met this morning and has decided to terminate the arrangement to pay the legal fees of Glenn Mulcaire with immediate effect."

Yesterday a spokeswoman said: "We stand by our previous statement. Mr Mulcaire's funding has been withdrawn."

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