LONDON — Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper company has agreed to pay damages to 37 high-profile victims of tabloid phone-hacking, including actor Jude Law, soccer player Ashley Cole, a friend of Prince William's and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
In the 15 settlements whose financial terms were made public Thursday, amounts generally ran into the tens of thousands of dollars — although Law received the equivalent of about $200,000 to settle claims against the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid and its sister paper, the Sun. Law was one of 60 people who have sued News Group Newspapers, claiming their mobile phone voice mails were hacked.
It was the biggest number of settlements yet in the long-running hacking scandal, which has shaken Murdoch's global empire, spurred the resignations of several of his top executives and reverberated through Britain's political, police and media elite.
News Group Newspapers admitted that 16 articles about Law published in News of the World between 2003 and 2006 had been obtained by phone hacking, and that the actor had also been placed under "repeated and sustained physical surveillance." The company also admitted that articles in the Sun misused Law's private information, although it didn't admit to phone hacking.