Murdoch Paper Hired Private Eye To Get P.E. Boss' Hotel Bill

May 29 2012 | 1:18pm ET

Rupert Murdoch's News International employed a private detective to acquire, possibly illegally, a New York private equity manager's London hotel bill.

While media attention has focused on the so-called phone-hacking scandal, in which Murdoch's newspapers illegally tapped the phones of politicans, royalty, celebrities and the parents of murdered children, an early Murdoch effort to gather information via unsavory means led private detective Steve Whittamore to Robert Agostinelli, of Rhone Group.

According to British authorities, Whittamore ran a "Claridges blag" on Agostinelli; "blag" means using a fake identity to get information. Whittamore managed to obtain a July bill of £3,433.98 for a four-day stay by Agonstinelli at Claridge's Hotel, in a room with a rate of £411.25 per night.

Agostinelli, who lived in New York at the time of the stay, now resides in London.

Whittamore was convicted in the U.K. of trading illegally-obtained information. He was arrested in 2003; the entry on Agostinelli, which does not appear to have resulted in a published news item, was collected some time before that. The so-called Whittamore database compiled by British authorities does not specify what year Agostinelli ran up his bill at Claridge's.

It is among the first pieces of evidence that Murdoch's information-gathering enterprise was transatlantic, although authorities are looking into whether News International targeted victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The reporter whom the database said commissioned the Agostinelli "blag" has denied ever having heard of the private equity honcho.


In Depth

Why Ponzi Schemes Work: An In-Depth Look At The Allen Stanford Fraud

Dec 21 2014 | 10:30am ET

Texan Allen Stanford first appeared on the radars of financial regulators in 1997...

Lifestyle

Hedgie Funds US Squash Program

Dec 24 2014 | 8:46am ET

Squash, anyone?

Guest Contributor

EidoSearch’s Top Three Market Projections For 2015

Dec 23 2014 | 4:03am ET

It is that time of year again when prognosticators make their big market calls for...

 

Sponsored Content

Editor's Note

    Guidelines for Guest Articles

    Oct 22 2014 | 9:46am ET

    We are always looking for guest articles from hedge fund managers and buy-side firms.

    If you are interested in submitting a contributed piece for possible publication on FINalternatives, please take a look at the specs. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

December 2014 Cover

Futures 2014 person of the year

Jeff Sprecher was simply looking for a platform to trade energies when launching ICE 14 years ago but it has grown to reach the pinnacle of both the listed futures and equities world.

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.