Police worker 'sold information about royal bodyguards'

A newspaper paid £32,000 to a police worker for details of expenses claims made by a Scotland Yard unit that protects the prime minister and royal family, a court heard on Tuesday.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Police worker ‘sold information about royal bodyguards to newspaper'” was written by Vikram Dodd, for The Guardian on Tuesday 11th December 2012 18.46 UTC

A newspaper paid £32,000 to a police worker for details of expenses claims made by a Scotland Yard unit that protects the prime minister and royal family, a court heard on Tuesday.

The deal was allegedly brokered by the publicist Max Clifford and sparked a bidding war between the Mail on Sunday and the now defunct News of the World.

Police worker Jairo Dos Santos, 29, is accused of selling the details motivated by “financial greed” in what amounted to a “breach of trust”, Southwark crown court heard.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson told the jury: “That confidential information concerned ongoing police operations including the royal Ffamily, the prime minister and others.

“He deliberately sought to increase the price that he could get for this police information, he encouraged a bidding war by playing off the News of the World against the Mail on Sunday.

“He also employed the services of Max Clifford Associates, the well-known press relations consultants, in order to help him get a higher price for his sale of police information.”

The jury was told that Dos Santos, an agency worker, was £1000 overdrawn when he sold the information.

Dos Santos was made aware of the sensitivity of the information he may come across in 2008, the prosecutor said, when he joined the specialist operations unit of the Metropolitan police.

Patterson said: “His actions disregard for the effectiveness of such police operations and they were born out of opportunism in their timing and quite simply, financial greed.

“By his actions the defendant caused the release into the public domain of information about how the police managed protection operations in relation to principals, the people being protected, such as members of the royal family and former prime ministers – information which the police, for obvious reasons, try to keep confidential.”

The prosecution said Dos Santos sold the information in 2010 after being given notice by the police that his employment was to be terminated.

The court heard that Dos Santos emailed 14 spread sheets containing details of more than 2,700 expenses claims to the Mail on Sunday on 1 July 2010, having emailed them to his own personal email account the day before. The information led to stories in the newspaper, which the prosecution said led police to put in place additional security measures

Patterson said that texts and emails involving Dos Santos in his final weeks at work show “that he spent a great deal of time and effort communicating with two newspapers and Max Clifford Associates trying to sell Metropolitan police information for as much money as possible.”

The court heard Dos Santos contacted Max Clifford Associates to say he wanted to get in touch with the News of the World “as they usually pay more and of course we would go with the highest offer on the table”.

Dos Santos, from south London, denies one count of disclosing personal data.

The trial continues.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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