Footballer Ryan Giggs has become the latest celebrity to launch legal action against the News of the World over alleged phone hacking by the newspaper, his lawyers confirmed.
The development came as News International, parent company of the tabloid and its daily sister paper The Sun, acknowledged former Sun and NOTW editor Rebekah Brooks had been shown documents by police proving that her voicemail had been illegally intercepted.
Law firm Schillings said “proceedings have been issued” by Giggs against the Sunday paper, but would not comment further.
News International said it was “aware of the claim” in relation to the Manchester United player.
On the subject of Brooks, a spokeswoman said: “News International can confirm that Rebekah Brooks was recently shown documents by the police that proved she was a victim of illegal voicemail interception.”
Scotland Yard, which is investigating multiple claims that NOTW staff hacked into the answerphone messages of celebrities and politicians, would not comment on the cases of either Giggs or Brooks.
Giggs’s action against the Sunday newspaper comes after he obtained a court order banning the reporting of an affair he allegedly had with former Big Brother housemate Imogen Thomas.
The injunction was breached in the House of Commons last month after details appeared on the internet.
This was followed by reports earlier this month that he had had an affair with his own sister-in-law.
The midfielder was reported to have slept with his younger brother Rhodri’s wife Natasha – a claim which he told Rhodri was untrue, according to the Sun.
The 37-year-old, who has two children with his wife Stacey, 32, was awarded an OBE in 2007 and is one of the Premier League’s most successful footballers.
He is now the most recent in a string of high profile figures revealed to be possible targets of hacking.
Actress Sienna Miller was last week awarded £100,000 (€114,000) damages at London’s High Court after bringing a privacy and harassment claim in connection with the NOTW’s phone-hacking action.
The payout was made after News Group Newspapers, parent company of the NOTW and the Sun, made an unconditional admission of liability.
Other well-known figures said to have been victims of mobile phone message hacking include actor Jude Law, former prime minister Gordon Brown, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, comedian Steve Coogan and sports commentator Andy Gray.
It has been estimated that News International – which also owns The Times and The Sunday Times – has set aside £20m for payouts over hacking.
Three News of the World journalists have been arrested since the Metropolitan Police reopened its inquiry into the claims.
The Met’s original inquiry into the practice led to the conviction of NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007.