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'NOTW' bosses knew of hacking in 2006

By James Cusick and Cahal Milmo in London

Up to a dozen News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks, were told in 2006 that the Metropolitan Police had evidence that more than one 'News of the World' journalist was implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

New information wrecks the publicly stated timetable by Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group for when and how it first became aware of the extent of illegality by the now-defunct Sunday tabloid.

Senior executives have repeatedly stated to parliament that the company had no significant evidence until 2008 that illegal voicemail interception went beyond the paper's jailed royal editor, Clive Goodman.

The new evidence, likely to be central to civil and criminal actions against the Murdoch empire, reveals that police informed the company two years earlier that they had uncovered "strong" evidence implicating other journalists, when a senior officer held a meeting with Ms Brooks after the arrest in August 2006 of Mr Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

The officer who met Ms Brooks, a former editor of the Sunday tabloid, told her that detectives sifting through a vast cache of documents seized from Mr Mulcaire's south London home had uncovered evidence that Mr Goodman was not the only individual on the paper involved in criminal activity. Information was disclosed about the nature of that evidence.

Tom Crone, News International's legal manager, contacted company executives in early autumn 2006 informing them of the Met's meeting with Ms Brooks.

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