Gazza to sue over British phone-hacking scandal: report

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Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne is planning to sue a top British newspaper alleging that he was a victim of a major phone-hacking scandal, a report said Saturday.

The Observer newspaper said Gascoigne's lawyer, Gerald Shamash, had confirmed that proceedings would be issued within days against the News of The World (NOTW), which is owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Gascoigne is one of a number of celebrities believed to have been targeted by phone-hacking at the weekly tabloid, including actress Sienna Miller, who is currently taking legal action against the paper's parent company.

The scandal has refused to die down since the tabloid's royal correspondent and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for conspiracy to access mobile phone messages involving Princes William and Harry.

Andy Coulson, now director of communications for British Prime Minister David Cameron, was editor of the paper at the time and resigned over the affair -- although he insisted he knew nothing about it.

British prosecutors said Friday they will review police material on the claims after the issue flared up again following the suspension of NOTW's assistant editor for news, Ian Edmondson, over "serious allegations".

Considered one of England's most talented players, Gazza, as Gascoigne is known, has struggled with alcohol and depression. His lawyer said the stress of believing that his phone had been hacked was hindering his recovery.

"It has made things even more difficult for his general wellbeing," he told the Observer. Shamash was not immediately available to comment.

A spokesperson from News International, which publishes the NOTW, told the Observer that the tabloid would "continue to co-operate with any request from the police or the Crown Prosecution Service".

© 2011 AFP

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