The phone hacking scandal rocking Britain extends well beyond the media industry to include law firms, debt collectors and other companies, a newspaper said Saturday (Sunday, NZT).
The scandal has already sent shockwaves across the UK with revelations that journalists routinely intercepted voicemails, bribed public officials, and hacked into computers in their search for scoops.
The Independent, citing a leaked report from Britain's Serious and Organized Crime Agency and an unnamed person familiar with its content, said that many others were in on the shady practices - including businessmen, attorneys, and debt collectors.
An unclassified summary of the report was published five years ago, but the Independent provided new details about its content, including the allegation that celebrities, businessmen, and an unnamed "major telecommunications company" had hired corrupt private investigators specializing in such practices. The paper didn't give further details or post the report to its website.
The crime agency said it would not comment on the Independent's report.
British police investigating the phone hacking scandal have made scores of arrests, many of them outside the world of journalism.